South Korea – A Roadmap to COVID-19 Economic Recovery

For many weathering stay at home and a remote office, how businesses will return to work weighs heavy on the minds of governments, employers, and workers worldwide. It’s a delicate balance between staying safe and an urgent need to re-open commerce.

For an economic recovery, South Korea could be a glimpse into future best practices.

The world has been watching and, in some cases, following as South Korea benefits from its social distancing guidelines, technology-powered testing, tracing and treatment, as well as measures to utilize data in fighting the virus.

 
 

How South Korea tackles rebooting their economy will also be closely followed—as Asia’s fourth-largest economy, it is considered a bellwether for world trade.

As a trial, in their recent election, South Koreans turned out in record numbers. The country after much discussion went ahead with elections as its massive and rapid testing and quarantine efforts have slowed the spread of COVID-19.

In weeks to come, and as economies emerge from COVID-19, early movers like South Korea may provide much-needed roadmaps for recovery and implementing return to work plans.

 
 

On one level the strong voter response is a sign of intense public interest in what may be seen as a referendum on President Moon Jae-in and his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

Perhaps more insightful, as a first step in COVID-19 recovery, it appears to have pushed more citizens to cast their ballots.

I believe all efforts will now turn to economic recovery.

For me, this was very apparent in recent in Zoom calls and correspondence with Seoul.

In one example following the election, a Korean colleague asked what was needed as the next step into jump-starting our marketing outreach for a stalled product launch. More so, sensing the urgency and some pressure, they shared leadership’s new and rather hefty quarterly goals for the product launch.

In another instance on a call with a team, senior leadership jumped in to get an update on a number of global business outreaches made in the last few weeks—leadership then asked to move forward ASAP with whatever support was needed from their teams and HQ.

Stepping back and pondering some, I feel we all need to have a plan in place—and be positioned to move forward fast.

As business and commerce recover, agreements will probably be revisited, terms subject to renegotiations, and above all expect partner and leadership requests for a detailed localized Recovery Plan!

To this, I’d add that it’s best to include some countermeasures for recovery.

In weeks to come, and as economies emerge from COVID-19, early movers like South Korea may provide much-needed roadmaps for recovery and implementing return to work plans.

That said, we can assume recovery will be gradually phased-in, vary by location, industry sector, and the overall local health status.

It also will require continued social distancing, expanded use of personal protective equipment, and other preventative health measures.


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