Corporate Overlords Are Betting Biden Won’t End Lockdowns for Years
Right now, there is just one question that is looming large in everyone’s minds. What will our lives look like once the worst of the pandemic is over? Are we going to resume normal life or will we be forced to live with COVID-19, as opposed to bringing it to heel? This is all anyone can think of.
If you take a closer look at the plans of various consumer brands, it all becomes very clear. They are planning for us to be inside for a bit. From the looks of it, Americans had better get used to working from home. This is looking more and more like it will be the norm going forward. So much for a return to normalcy, right?
Of course, there are numerous Americans who do not have the option of working from home. According to findings from Global Workplace Analytics, the number of Americans who are going to be working from home is expected to top out at around 25 percent next year. This may sound doable but when you stop to think about what the numbers used to be? It gets scary.
The telecommuting research and consulting firm says that the number of Americans who were working from home last year was just 4 percent. If these numbers continue to rise every year at this rate, it won’t be long before all of the traditional work is gone. Companies will only continue to push back the return dates of their employees and staffers are going to be encouraged to stay put.
Kate Lister is the president of the GWA and according to her, “the greater the adoption we will see when the dust settles.” It’s probably a safe bet to assume that many of us are going to be remaining at home going forward. Certain business items won’t be as prevalent either. No more going out for lunch during a workday. There will be no need for makeup or all of the usual business casual garments.
The Wall Street Journal has more. “As a result, many food-and-consumer-products companies are investing in factories, equipment, and brands to provide more of those items for years to come, seeking to accommodate consumers who are making more coffee, buying more casual clothes, and tending beards with trimmers and balm rather than shaving them off.
Conagra Brands Inc. and Kraft Heinz Co. are buying and upgrading equipment to make more at-home lunch foods. General Mills Inc. has added a manufacturing line for Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal at a Georgia factory, which the company said is one of its most expensive capital projects ever. Kimberly-Clark Corp. is converting a plant to make toilet paper for homes instead of offices, and Procter & Gamble Co. is adding beard-care products in addition to Gillette razors,” their report reads.
Companies are also ramping up their production of at-home snacks. Per the Wall Street Journal, Kraft Heinz Co. raised production of its highest-demand items such as Kraft Mac & Cheese cups, Oscar Mayer cold cuts, and Philadelphia cream cheese by about 20% during the pandemic. Now the company is spending more than $100 million to add more production capacity next year.
“This is a business that has been relatively flat for a while at best,” said Adam Butler, president of Kraft’s Easy Meals Made Better division. “Now we want to double down on it.” Beauty product providers and male grooming companies are shifting their focus to products that can be used for skin care and beard growth, sure signs that we are going to be inside for the foreseeable future.
Our new normal has now arrived and it’s not what anyone would have expected. There are lots of sweatpants and Easy Mac in the future. Companies are banking on our favorite comfort foods and comfortable clothing going forward. Near as we can tell, it’s probably one of the safest bets that any business can make in the current climate.