The world is a buzz about the various COVID vaccinations currently being developed and distributed. What’s more, there currently appears to be improvements in U.S. COVID numbers. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re all extremely hopeful that this horrific pandemic will soon be behind us. 

And while it’s true that the rollout has experienced some hiccups, business owners should still be giving a lot of thought to what vaccination will mean for us in the future. We’ve all become quite accustomed to doubling down on strategies, trying new methods to reach customers, and operating with limited staff at full capacity. While it may seem like that’s just business as usual for most small operations, the truth is we’ll all be pretty relieved once we’ve turned the corner.

But that relief won’t come swiftly unless we’re fully prepared and know what to expect. To make up for lost time and hit the ground running when protocols and practices shift, there are some things small businesses should keep in mind. 

In this blog post, I’ll outline some of the major areas that will be affected by a vaccine rollout, as well as how your small business can prepare. 

In-Person Events Will Make a Comeback

There’s been a huge shift to going digital for networking events and conferences. While it’s been extremely convenient and safe, once the vaccine becomes commonplace in-person events will most definitely resume. 

Working out travel logistics and keeping a closer eye on rescheduled conferences will be key. A lot of sales networking and education-building happens at these events, so you’ll want to be on the lookout for when they’re rescheduled. It’s also a good idea to start factoring them into your yearly budget, just in case.

Employer Policies May Change

The pandemic has forever changed how we all view public health. Ensuring the safety of your staff is now an even bigger priority than before, which means some businesses may be looking into the vaccine being a part of their policy in some way. 

To ensure the upmost safety, some companies may consider making the vaccine mandatory. There are a lot of issues and concerns surrounding this, so make sure you look into the various reasons why employees may resist this approach and what it can ultimately mean for the growth of your company

However, perhaps a more middle-ground approach is more your style. Companies may recommend or instill an honor code regarding the vaccine. It really just boils down to what works for your business and what keeps your employees feeling safe and happy.

Sales Could Increase

For a lot of businesses, sales took a major dip when the pandemic hit. In fact, a lot of businesses are still experiencing decreased sales and have adjusted their sales process because of it. But with a vaccine release, sales will hopefully start to pick back up again. It may take some time, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start thinking about what a higher demand will mean for your company. While we can all agree that an uptick in sales is great, after months of adjusting to a slower return, there will be quite an adjustment to account for. 

If you’re in eCommerce or retail, be prepared by increasing your stock, but do so mindfully. Don’t spend too much of your budget and resources on stocking up on tons of products until the vaccine rollout has reached a steady stride. 

Keep an increase in sales in mind when you’re putting together your sales forecasting for the next few quarters. Be reasonable while also accounting for some growth so your company can be as prepared as possible. 

In-Office Culture Will Be a Thing Again

More and more teams moved to a remote work model, which offered tons of flexibility and safety during the pandemic. However, company culture took a hit and many teams (ours included) missed the office energy they worked hard to cultivate. 

With more people becoming vaccinated, we’ll eventually reach a safer spot and can welcome an in-office work environment again. While you’ve probably given most of your company culture events the heave-ho, there will be a time when you’ll want to incorporate them back into the mix. This means team happy hours, lunches, and outings will not be gone for good. 

Remote Employees and Remote Hiring Is Here to Stay

Not everything will necessarily shift back to “normal.” The typical workplace will look a little different moving forward. By going remote, a lot of businesses experienced efficiencies and more flexible work schedules. Overall, studies show that productivity wasn’t sacrificed during this transition, so you may want to consider incorporating more remote work into your company structure. 

This could be an entire shift to remote or allowing for a couple of days a week of remote work. You may also want to open new positions up to candidates that live outside your region, which offer tons of other benefits (the wider your candidate pool, the more talent you’ll attract). Either way, having a more flexible work schedule can make your company more appealing to potential new hires and make your employees happier and more productive. Start looking into best practices for hiring remote and seeing if there are better office space options for a hybrid culture.

While we aren’t out of the weeds just yet, I think it’s safe to start looking into the various ways your business may be affected by the COVID vaccine. Just make sure you stay realistic and keep an eye on how the rollout progresses. And best of luck navigating this new terrain!