One Year Later: How COVID-19 Transformed Business Forever



covid-stay-home.jpgThis March marks one year since the nation recognized the threat of COVID-19 and shut-downs across the world changed both personal and working lives forever. Now one year into the pandemic, the ways of doing business are in many ways unrecognizable to how they once were, as companies of all kinds were forced to transform practices to stay afloat while staying safe.

During the course of the year since COVID-19 hit, several themes and new practices emerged as businesses and individuals adapted to different ways of living and working, including:

  • Conducting work from home. Starting March 24, 2020, Governor Whitmer ordered all Michiganders to stay home and suspend all non-essential activities. As part of this order, many began working from home for the first time ever. While some thrived in this environment, others struggled to maintain productivity or stay focused with distractions like pets and kids often making it more difficult to work. From a leadership perspective, working from home provided a new challenge to sustaining company culture and ensuring workers felt valued and engaged, without being able to gauge these factors in person. The meaning of “work” was redefined, now commonly being viewed as what you do, rather than where you are, and companies had to get creative with their virtual team-building activities.
  • Relying on virtual platforms. While working from home, businesses had to heavily depend on virtual meeting platforms and digital communication to stay connected. Networking events, team meetings and even training went virtual. This increased the risk and importance of cybersecurity, as workers switched from using dedicated servers with strong security to using personal laptops and unsecured home internet connections. On the plus side, virtual platforms enabled workers to stay in touch regardless of where they were working, as well as gave companies a way to continue their training initiatives outside of the office (such as through our Distance Learning Classes).
  • Enhancing safety practices in facilities. Once workers were allowed to return to their facilities, businesses first had to enact new, stronger safety practices to minimize the risk of exposure. Practicing social distancing, checking temperatures and applying Lean manufacturing provided added protection within facilities. Enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures also had to be enacted. For example, The Center paired our Mobile Industrial Robot (MiR) with UV Sheltron's ultraviolet (UV) technology to enhance the safety of our facility by disinfecting multiple times each week. Read more about our health and safety practices here.
  • Proving resilience and flexibility in the face of adversity. Throughout this past year, businesses – and specifically manufacturers – proved their resilience every step of the way. Manufacturers pivoted to producing new parts and products to support the fight against COVID-19, with state and federal funding programs helping to position them for success once business finally returns to “normal.” Going forward, it is clear manufacturers have the flexibility and adaptability needed to prepare for and survive nearly any crisis.

Business will never quite look the same as it did pre-COVID – but that is not necessarily a bad thing, as companies have established better safety practices, enhanced cultures and even pursued new business opportunities as a result.

While many have successfully navigated this new business landscape and landed on their feet, some may still have some lingering concerns and questions about how to best support their businesses in the future, such as: How can we better motivate and guide team members during this challenging time? How can we fast track our launch process while avoiding delays and costly mistakes? How can my company get back on its feet quickly once the COVID-19 threat subsides? For answers to these questions and more, visit our Ask the Experts page. For additional support with your company’s growth and improvement initiatives, contact our experts today at  


Kucinski_K2-web.jpgKara Kucinski, Marketing Specialist
Kara joined The Center’s marketing team in 2017. In her role as Marketing Specialist, Kara’s primary objective is to help put a face on the organization to explain what we do and why we do it best. Kara works to further build The Center’s brand by delivering engaging and informative content across all platforms, which serves to both raise awareness about The Center and inspire local companies to manufacture smarter.




Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

Categories: Other, U.S. Manufacturing, Workplace Safety