Beyond the Build

Beyond the Build

Moving Past COVID: Vaccine and the Business Climate

This week, I had an interesting phone call with a group of bankers, business leaders and healthcare professionals here in the Southeast. I left with a ton of takeaways. I’ll share those related to the vaccine and business operations this week and more related to service businesses and real estate next week.

The vaccine is beginning to roll out and looks promising, but as one former pharma executive said, it’s not a matter of having the vaccine or distribution as much as getting it in arms. There are varying degrees of acceptance among employees, and we had a discussion on how to motivate people in our organizations. The percentage of people within companies willing to take the vaccine seems to be 50-70%. In healthcare, doctors are about 95% and yet healthcare workers’ willingness to take the vaccine drops to 50-60%.

There seemed to be a consensus that working from home reduces efficiency by 20-25%. Personally, I do not think that working from home will be the panacea as it lacks the ability to create or maintain culture. One of the participants also discussed how hard it is to acclimate a new employee to their organizational culture when working remotely.

The CEO of a large conglomerate suggested that going forward, there would be a reduction in planning cycles. Board decisions will be made using the best, but at times maybe less than complete, intel.

One of the bankers reported that there has only been 25% dissipation in the second round of PPP, which may be good news for the economy, as the second round requires a 25% reduction in revenue.

There was a general belief that another relief package is needed, but it should be targeted at industries and individuals that have been severely impacted.

It was a relief to hear honest opinions from all these folks who are experts in their fields. We did suffer some damage last year, but the light coming out of the woods seems to be getting brighter.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.