As the world shifts towards working from home and our governments mount responses to the SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) pandemic, we may feel that our fundamental way of life is being uprooted. Now more than ever, we must be malleable and adjust to what people are calling this new reality. Still, it’s inherently essential also to look inward and see how the skills we’ve acquired can become attributed to today’s world, and applied to identify opportunities that can and will grow in post COVID world.
As organizations acclimatize to working from home, to a short term decrease in consumer spending, to any immediate shift, the reaction from many executives seems to be so often of panic. To many, this inherent insecurity means we must save cash, stock up for a long winter, and wait until things become normal again.
The rub here, however, is that things never were normal, they were just what people were accustomed to, and significant change brings with it, great opportunity. Instead of hoarding cash and negatively impacting liquidity, which is what will cause a recession, company leadership needs to start looking at where to identify opportunities and how to capitalize on them.
Here are some predictions for the COVID19 quarantine and beyond.
The Good: Business Opportunities Post COVID19 World
Online collaboration tools are going to keep on growing, and working from home will become more normal across a more extensive breadth of companies. Professional services will move remote, legal, management consulting, et al., and senior management/executive suite will adapt, see productivity benefits, and maintain remote policies for many employees.
Behavioral shifts in the way we consume media will persist after the pandemic subsides, remote concerts, remote wellness (exercise), OTT streaming, and esports are positioned for big wins in the next six months, as is education. Remote, live, skill-based classes are going to grow, and you will see the emergence of platforms catering to just this, asynchronous learning could take off in adult education. Major media and entertainment companies and OTT providers will use the flywheel to invest in complementary services. Major tech will come out a winner, and you’ll see a handful of startups will pivot during the quarantine and emerge as new leaders in the areas I’m listing in this article. A handful of new social platforms will emerge, and VR/AR mobile applications will play a role in this.
Virtual experiences will become more readily available, museum and virtual tours, live comedy shows, live streaming, online video dating will become common.
Telehealth will become more prevalent, and practitioners will see more of their patients remotely, increasing the efficacy of our healthcare systems over the long term. Innovation in the space will accelerate, and new telehealth applications will emerge. Remote and at home connected devices such as smart thermometers, and blood pressure monitors will become more widely used.
Transportation will take a hit initially, but innovation in the movement of people and goods will surge, potentially with a focus on driver and passenger safety. Automation in trucking will see an uptick post-pandemic, with fleets possibly becoming 20-25% automated by 2025.
The Bad: Areas Needing Innovation and Mitigation
While COVID19 presents an immense opportunity for many technology-enabled sectors, Main street will suffer. Retail will take a tremendous hit unless storefronts move their products online, onboarding for eCommerce storefronts like Shopify should be made easier to enable the transition. Delivery companies will likewise have an opportunity to support these stores logistically – and will look to their competitors for continuous industry innovation.
Restaurants may see increased delivery orders after the initial blow of the outbreak has settled. Still, service staff will be hard-pressed for work and may have to transition to servicing new or emerging delivery services or other sectors.
In property, construction will grind to a halt during the pandemic. Commercial real estate prices per sq. ft will drop post-pandemic as more employers continue with pro-remote policies. Residential property prices are likely to fall as pressure from decreased liquidity, unemployment, or hardship forces individuals and families to free up cash. Consolidation of familial living in unskilled workers will likely occur with singles, and younger families cohabitating with the older generation until a recovery hits, and their financial positions improve.
The worse hit will be the blue-collar workers who will take on riskier jobs to cover their income shortages. Specifically in food and beverage, retail, accommodation, automobile services, travel, membership organizations & clubs, sports & entertainment, and real estate professionals.
One thing is sure; we are as a planet going through a massive shift in the way we work and do business. The socio-economic fallout and the post COVID world, and the way it functions, now depends on us, the innovators, the technologists, the entrepreneurs, and investors to create and define.