Coping with COVID-19: How Better Location Intelligence Can Help Businesses Respond

Matt Lewin
7 min readMar 25, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis of unprecedented scale. And while it’s first and foremost a public health emergency, the threat to businesses is also very real.

Stores have closed or suspended operations. Workers have been laid off or forced to reduce hours. Customers have been left stranded. Business as usual is not business as usual. It won’t be for some time.

Leaders face a pair of existential questions: How do we survive under such turbulent conditions? And how do we recover in a world where social distancing, self-isolation, and flattening the curve could be the reality long into the future?

One thing’s certain: technology and data will be part of the answer. And that includes location technology. The regional nature of the pandemic means that understanding business conditions in their geographic context is critical to informing a response strategy. What you do in one community might not work in another. That’s true now and especially in the future.

In this article, I provide guidance on ways that location technology can improve business resiliency and help cope with the uncertainties of the COVID-19 crisis.

Short-term Tactics

The priority for businesses over the next 90 days is survival. As leaders adapt to the impact of COVID-19, they are rightly focused on protecting the workforce, stabilizing the supply-chain, reassuring customers, and maintaining financial liquidity. These are essential actions — but they can underwhelm without sufficient geographic awareness.

How location technology can help:

Workforce Protection

Employee health and safety is the top priority in times of crisis. Due to the highly infectious nature of the coronavirus, most companies have put in place social distancing measures, such as a work-from-home strategy. It’s likely you’re reading this from a home office of sorts.

For those not in the office, leaders have focused on more procedural methods to prevent the spread — actions like touchless service and physical distancing guidelines. Other workplace protection measures include travel bans, office…

Matt Lewin

Consultant, strategist and writer. I write about working life, personal growth and the writing process. Director at Esri Canada