The Spring of 2020 will forever change the landscape of business and society in general.
It will be married to the Coronavirus pandemic for all of history.
We are now self-isolating, social distancing, virus testing, homebound, working remotely; all in our frail effort to stop the virulence. We are listening to the medical professionals, the communicable disease experts and the government as well. It is not easy but seems to be collectively agreed as necessary.
I wonder what lasting effects will result from this unprecedented time.
Society cannot maintain itself in isolation. People need to be with people. Will we be afraid of that interaction? Will we be suspicious of our fellow humans for no real good reason other than we have been conditioned to the dynamic that being apart is the safest way to survive. Will the distance from our family cause fissures of different magnitudes? Can we heal the divisions caused by prolonged separation?
Business will be faced with a whole new way of being. For those in the interpersonal industries of food service, healthcare, law enforcement, first responders, utility workers and trades people, they will develop new considered ways of serving. Better personal protections and hygiene will become commonplace. We have already seen the restaurant food take out locations advertising “no touch” preparation and delivery.
Lessons learned during the pandemic may become foundational as we go forward.
For those industries that have moved to the virtual world new skills, new ways of staying relevant, new understanding of how remote work can be successful will be revealed. Companies will question if they need large corporate offices anymore since they were forced to shutter their spaces and send everyone home to work from there. How will that new knowledge effect the real estate market overall? It may be like the closing of major retail brick and mortar stores after they moved to e-commerce with online sites. The cyberworld will be expanded to a greater degree than it already has. Technology, AI and machine learning will become processes de jour. Meetings will be remote video affairs with in-person face to face gatherings kept to the bare minimum. This will prevail for quite a period to come, but hopefully will fade as people determine that they need to be together.
While factories and manufacturing will still be necessary, they too will be implementing safer personal protections for their employees and the processes they perform. Gloves may become a standard; sanitizing wipes and disinfectant procedures will be added to the process.
Social distancing may fade to a degree, family gatherings, weddings, in person conferences, networking events may also revive, but it would be foolish to think at this point that there will be no effect.
The new normal will take time to reveal itself.
The damage to human society will be a product of tolerance by the citizenship. How much will they allow their lives to be changed is yet to be seen. I am sure the “six foot of separation” will go out the window as soon as we get out of our self-imposed cocoons.
It will be smart not to be cavalier about our reintroduction of societal norms, yet we need to return to a situation that we can own as normal.