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The Economic Effect of the Pandemic.

The Economic Effect of the Pandemic.

Many U.S. office workers are approaching a year of working from home. While vaccine distribution is accelerating, and the number of new U.S. COVID-19 cases remains high.

Companies, with executives have espoused a potential return to normalcy to September.

Salesforce grabbed headlines this week by offering employees a choice to continue to work from home or adopt a flexible, mixed schedule. But it is far from the only large company to update employees on return-to-work plans.

“We’ve told them, ‘don’t plan to come back before September,’” Centene CEO Michael Neidorff.  The company is an administrator of Medicare and Medicaid plans, has more than 71,000 employees.

When they do return, it won’t be all at once, he said. “We will do modifications. You may come in for a four-day work week. You may come in one week, stay at home one week. It will be a function of the job.”

Smart speaker maker ‘Sonos’ is also keeping employees home until September at the earliest.  This also means giving extra support to workers struggling with at-home and pandemic-related stressors.

His biggest challenge, he said, is “definitely how we manage through a period where we have everyone at home. They’ve been working like crazy. One of our top three priorities is supporting our people, making sure they have what they need, they’re not burning themselves out.”

PepsiCo is one of the companies with a unique challenge, a massive workforce of more than 250,000 divided between office on the one hand and manufacturing facilities, warehouses and trucks on the other. Employees in the latter categories are viewed as frontline workers and have been operating with safety protocols. Like other corporate executives, Pepsi’s management is trying to stay nimble when it comes to office workers.

Many companies are learning a great deal from the pandemic that is sure to have lasting effects on the corporate culture for years to come.  In fact, COVID-19 may be the catalyst that ignites the telecommuting/ remote working ability (which has been available for years now), to get a firsthand look at the bottom line and how remote employees will reduce costs and the need for a large workplace particularly in the service industry.  The positive result will be goods and services that are less costly to corporate and individual consumers.  The flip side relates to something that, as Mark Twain said, “they aren’t making anymore,” that of course is real estate. 

Naturally, any announcement that the corporate culture will be forever changed due to what has been learned, through the forced use of existing technology, would be untimely.  It is simply poor taste to discuss anything that may increase the bottom line not to mention the thousands of people that will lose their jobs and/or make finding a job that much harder.  This is just one of so many economic factors that will be altered and fundamentally shift the corporate landscape for years to come.

The good news is that as long as markets fluctuate there will always be investment opportunities.  As these opportunities develop they will assist in assuaging the unveiled negative effects that for certain lie in the road ahead.  That, of course, is a subject for another day!  Below are the recent stock quotes for the companies mentioned in this article.

Stay well friends!

Bay Chen- Senior Financial Analyst

 

 

Symbol Last Price Change % Change
CNC

Centene Corporation

59.20 -0.77 -1.28%
PEP

PepsiCo, Inc.

133.87 -1.10 -0.82%
SONO

Sonos, Inc.

35.48 -0.96 -2.63%