New Winds Are Blowing: 10 Shifts In the Way We Live And Work
Covid-19 dramatically altered our lives, but as we prepare to return to a new normal, what are the shifts that here to stay? What challenges will we face and how do we respond quickly and effectively to the demands of the upcoming times?
We did our research, assembled our experts, and thought deeply about the impacts that we can expect, to present the 10 shifts in the way we live and work:
1. Ebb and Flow of Rules and Policies
There is a lot we still don’t know about this virus, and governments and policymakers will have to respond quickly to the progression of Covid-19. According to the Imperial College, it is estimated that the disruptions in how we live and work will last up to 2 years. Until we develop immunity or a viable vaccine.
During that time, rules and policies to protect the population, and especially the higher risk groups, will ebb and flow, with restrictions being put into place, lifted and reinstalled as a second wave, and potentially another virus comes into threat.
2. Remote Work and Online Shopping
Some of the shifts that we adopted during the lockdown, are here to stay. Remote work is now tried and tested in companies worldwide and will remain the norm for a lot of the workforce, with significant changes in work/life balance, productivity, and motivation.
With people spending more time at home, some significant impacts on office equipment, office real estate, home remodeling, and transportation, can be expected.
Also, e-commerce and e-health will continue to rise as people will buy increasingly more online, and will avoid health care units unless absolutely necessary.
3. The Rise of Remote Therapy and Coaching
Unemployment, financial constraints, restrictions in freedom, health, and relationship issues, are already taking a toll on mental health worldwide. Research shows that people who are social distancing and isolating in their homes have already experienced a loss in motivation, meaning, or self-worth.
We expect to see significant increases in loneliness, depression, addictions, and anxiousness. Both people who were previously skeptical, or neglectful of mental health, as well as those who already relied on this kind of support, will increasingly look for mental health online, like so remote therapy and coaching will rise.
As companies see their workers struggling in this area, many will also offer these services in the form of benefits. Starbucks is one of the companies that even before Covid-19, offers mental health services to its workers. Outsystems is another example, and many more will follow. So the demand for mental health professionals will spike up.
4. The Need for Trustworthy Products, People and Businesses
How do companies ensure that they follow strict preventative measures and that consumers are able to perceive them as trustworthy products, people, and businesses?
Certified proof of hygiene will be demanded and expected both from people and organizations. This can translate into new packaging designs, in sharing personal health data like temperature, contact-free deliveries, and drop-offs.
With a lot of businesses shifting to this demand in place, some will provide the certification services, some will pivot their production lines to manufacture protective gear. In the end, we will see labels, packaging, and also sorts of communication strategies conveying the trust factor that we will need and expect to see.
5. Limited Travelling
The tourism and travel sectors took the biggest hit in terms of business impact. With the maintenance of travel restrictions even within countries, it’s expected that the sector will continue to face disruptions and that local tourism will pick up and bloom.
Nationally some hotels are already taking reservations for the summer from people looking to combine work with travel, staying for longer periods of time. However, during the next months, the restrictions on traveling will mostly maintain.
6. Social Disruption, Tension, and Conflicts
With government aid and social support failing to support those that are locked out of the market, both by unemployment, disease, and other conditions, many will enter survival mode and spark a wave of social tension and conflicts worldwide. Lawsuits will follow, lawyers will work increasingly more online, and courts will host cases virtually.
Potentially where governments fail, companies, communities, and even small groups of people will mobilize to provide the care and support for those left out by the system in an effort to help minimize the inequality gap.
7. Unseen Levels of Unemployment
The International Labour Organization is expecting 25 million job losses worldwide as a direct result of Covid-19. People will be forced to pivot quickly to another sector, industry, or to an entirely different career and some will take on the entrepreneurial lane as a way to complement or replace their income, which means, there will be a huge demand for online skills training and online education.
More people will turn to platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare to quickly acquire the skills and competencies they need to make a living, and many more platforms will emerge, as online education continues to bloom.
8. Home Delivery Will Become The New Norm
In the post-COVID world, many people will continue to operate in a crisis mindset, and avoid certain places and behaviors, turning to home delivery as their go-to method of getting what they need.
Many retail businesses and product distributors will have to adapt to delivery or remote-first mode. And specialized and contact-free delivery solutions will emerge.
9. Masks for Everyone, Everywhere
All eyes are on the countries that are ahead in terms of their experience of crisis and recovery. We will likely model China’s behavior and adopt the norm of wearing masks outside as a preventative measure. Fashion houses will design and manufacture masks as they take on more fashionable and customized formats, and become part of our everyday attire.
10. Investment in Resilience, Agility, and Innovation
Whether or not we will face a recession is no longer a question. How long and how deep it will remain uncertain. However, like in other crisis throughout history, the companies that endure and even thrive are the ones that are quick to respond, pivot when necessary, and adequately read, capture, and benefit from the opportunities arising within the markets.
In the US, according to the BCG Henderson Institute, 14% of companies grew both their top and bottom lines during the last economic downturns, mainly through differential growth, which holds true across all industries. So even though, companies may be looking to cut costs to ensure viability, the ones that set out to study best practices will be quick to acknowledge the need to invest in resilience, agility, and innovation as the growth pillars of their businesses.