The September 11, 2001 attacks not only had a huge impact on the US economy and society, but also affected businesses worldwide. About 18,000 small businesses in the Lower Manhattan area were destroyed or had to be relocated because of the attacks. Besides mourning the loss of employees and their family members, companies also had to figure out ways to continue operating in the post-9/11 era.
Here are five things that the business world learned from the worst terror attack in history.
1. More Stringent Regulations
Terrorists who carried out the attacks used the interconnected global banking network to finance their operations. Those were the early days of the internet and safety mechanisms were still not robust. After 9/11, banks and government agencies implemented enhanced security measures to prevent money laundering and illegal transfer of funds. Several new security protocols were put in place. Besides electronic transfer of money, even the physical movement of goods and services came under intense scrutiny. Airport security was beefed up substantially across the United States. Other countries, too, tightened their security systems.
2. More Environmentalism
The 9/11 attacks followed by America’s ‘War on Terror’ led to increased prices of fossil fuels all over the world. That forced governments to hunt for alternative sources of energy. The focus shifted to green and renewable energy as an environment-friendly alternative to fossil fuels. Businesses started looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
3. Employee Assistance Programs Expanded
In the wake of the deadly attacks, the human resources (HR) sector put increased emphasis on employee assistance programs (EAPs). EAPs began offering counseling services and advices on health and nutrition, relationships, substance abuse and addiction, emotional well-being, legal and financial issues, physical fitness, personal growth, pregnancy, personal safety, and stress and anger management.
4. Rise of Entrepreneurship
With so many organizations literally biting the dust in the span of a few hours, people began soul-searching about working in so-called stable jobs. Entrepreneurs were being seen with more respect. While startups were still challenging, those who managed to stick around tasted success. The 9/11 attacks were a rude awakening that took American businesses back to their roots.
5. Remote Working Boomed
When the two towers of the World Trade Center came down, people couldn’t return to their offices for weeks and months. The aftermath of the incident highlighted the importance of remote working and having decentralized operations. As a result, cloud computing services got a boost too.