The power of the pivot

I never thought I would live to see the day that I yearn to simply sit inside a restaurant and eat dinner (or breakfast or lunch, for that matter!). Being able to hop in the car, drive to my favorite eatery and enjoy a meal with a friend or two has – up to this point – been rather routine. But, this pandemic has changed everything we understood to be normal. I’ve now accepted the fact that my dining room table is my new workstation; I’ve become my own hairstylist (and I’m struggling); and I have to give my niece and nephews their sweet kisses via FaceTime. 

Yes, I’ve had to pivot to maintain my own well-being and while it remains challenging (and frustrating) at times, I’m mostly making it work. Such is also, and even more, the case for businesses. From mom-and-pop shops and national restaurant chains to companies serving customers across the globe, pivoting has quickly become a necessity – not a luxury. With no immediate end date in sight, and the reality that things will likely get worse before they get better, businesses have been forced to think critically and creatively to remain relevant amid COVID-19. There are many great examples of businesses that have found productive ways to continue serving their customers and communities during this difficult time, and here are just three that demonstrate pivoting at its best. 

Ditch the dine-in for takeout

Restaurants – both local spots and national chains – have shifted to serving their customers outside of their traditional dining rooms. Although you may miss the ambiance and the interaction with others that you get from eating inside a restaurant (which clearly I do), you can still enjoy your favorite meals from your go-to spots via curbside service, drive-thrus and home delivery. The icing? You can also get your “special drinks” to-go. That’s a little light at the end of the tunnel. And, many restaurants are doubling as your local grocery store, providing basic staples from milk and bread to toilet paper and paper towels. This pandemic has reminded us of the critical role restaurants play in our communities and that no matter what we’re going through, we can still bond (and cope) via delicious food. 

Telehealth to the rescue 

During times like these, our health – physical, emotional and mental – can become even more fragile. Many health care providers have continued to care for current and new patients via telehealth services. While this is not an entirely new phenomenon, it has become more commonly used because of COVID-19. Telehealth services offer many benefits, including ease of access to a provider via phone or computer, no or significantly shorter wait times and no need to drive to a health care facility. As coronavirus continues to take a toll on our country, we can rest in the fact that our health care providers are still available to meet our needs – virtually. 

Break a sweat from your living room 

While many of us are quarantining in our homes, it can be easy to drop our fitness routines. The gyms are closed, but thanks to a little technology and a lot of willpower, we can still get in a regular workout. Many fitness facilities and yoga studios are offering virtual classes, fully equipped with an instructor, guided class and wellness tips. And, you don’t have to go at it alone! You can participate in virtual classes via Zoom, for example, and work out with friends, colleagues or family members. 

COVID-19 will undoubtedly leave a mark on our lives that we will not soon forget. However, our business community has shown us that in times of uncertainty, they can pivot with purpose. If your customer can’t come to you, you take your service to the customer. That’s how you survive. This new age of pivoting will likely change how we operate in the future, and that change may be for the better.