When the first reports emerged about the mysterious new virus infecting people in China, nobody thought the matter will grow to these monumental proportions. Today, four months after the first cases emerged, half of the world’s population is on lockdown, countries across Europe have closed their borders, and the number of infection cases is closing in on one million. Several industries across the business world are feeling the effects of the pandemic in full. The travel and hospitality industry is perhaps the most affected by it, with airlines cancelling flights because of a general lack of interest, hotels and restaurants closed, even the casinos all over the world feeling the effects of the pandemic, closing their doors, cutting people off from their favourite games, their favourite dishes, and even the art collections hosted by casinos, airports, and high-profile restaurants all over the world.
In just a few weeks, the world transitioned from its normal self to a new way of life, with people working from home, barely going out for supplies, with events of all kinds postponed or canceled. The streets are deserted, the most popular tourist destinations are empty… and we can’t expect the situation to improve anytime soon. On the contrary – we can expect the world to change permanently as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
Working from Home
Office workers around the world have been condemning all the unnecessary meetings that “should have been an email” for years. Now, the social distancing measures introduced due to the spread of the novel coronavirus have proven them right – and will probably also prove that a large part of the workforce can do the same job with the same efficiency from home.
Forced by the pandemic, many employers have realized that the physical presence of the workforce at an office is not vital for the job to be done. And, hopefully, this realization will lead to many more home-office workers to remain just that after the pandemic is over.
Working from home saves a lot of time and money for the worker and it’s also a cost-effective solution for the employer – by reducing the need for office space, for example. We can expect an increasing number of employers to turn remote work from a necessary evil into the everyday norm in the future.
The End of the Global Economy
Let’s talk more serious business – the global business ecosystem. Some specialists expect globalization as we know it to disappear together with the coronavirus. The long-distance supply chains used by a large number of companies around the world (with one leg, that of production, in countries with cheap workforce and the other, sale, in the wealthier countries). The coronavirus pandemic has shown us the hard way that relying on foreign sources alone for certain goods because, when transport and travel are disrupted, entire countries can find themselves lacking vital supplies.
The Power of Technology
People were reluctant to give up cash for cards and going to the store for ordering online – but then the coronavirus happened. Those confined to their homes are now ordering online in numbers never seen before, and stores recommend people shopping at them use their cards or phones to pay instead of cash.
“Stay at home” services that don’t rely on people leaving their homes are thriving were “going out” businesses are suffering losses – and most of these “stay at home” businesses are built around digital technologies. Social media, streaming services, communication tools, remote work platforms, and similar companies are seeing demand skyrocket – and their share prices, too. And people who were reluctant to use social networks because of their less-than-stellar privacy records are now flocking to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to kill time while in isolation.
The power of tech companies will grow after the epidemic is over. And people will realize that a bit of government surveillance can be useful in preventing a pandemic, for example. And once again, they will be willing to give up a few of their freedoms to feel safer.
The coronavirus pandemic will change many things – hopefully, it will help us develop a better, more robust health system, adopt much better prevention and personal hygiene habits, and support each other. And to appreciate going out into the sun a little more.