Make no mistake, COVID-19 will change the world for ever

But will it be for better or for worse?

Three weeks into the UK lockdown has seen, in general, communities coming together to help the vulnerable amongst us and a growing respect for essential workers in supermarkets, transport workers, the NHS, etc., who had previously all be taken for granted.

However, on the flip side we’ve seen a minority flouting lockdown rules and the real dark side of the web rearing its ugly head from vile social media posts (despite all the #bekind messages following Caroline Flack’s suicide) to mega-bombing on open Zoom calls.

But despite this I believe COVID-19 will drastically change the way we all go about our daily lives.

What COVID-19 won’t change

However much we wish for it, unfortunately the human race is as it is, and pandemic or not, nothing will change that.

So we must realise that there will always be those among us, physically and virtually, who will not be nice, kind, compassionate or show any semblance of morality, yet preach to everyone else how they should live and rage when someone’s opinion differs to theirs.

The pandemic will also not cure the growing epidemic of ‘stupidity’, where people show little or no common sense about anything, as this article from 10 April 2020 shows. It would appear money can buy a lot of things, common sense and/or brain cells do not appear to be one of them!!

What will COVID-19 potentially change?

Over the last 10 years technology has evolved at lightning speed, to the extent we all carry our own personal computer in our pockets and are ‘switched on’ 24-hours a day.

The potential for working from home has been there for many years, and yet despite businesses saying that everyone will have an opportunity for flexible working, the number of businesses actually letting employees work from home is very low. Flexible working has so far, in general, been simply flexibility in working hours not location.

But now that everyone has been forced to work from home it’s obvious that all those businesses that said working from home can’t possibly be done off-site from the office were wrong. Actually it can be.

How we work

So my number 1 prediction of things that are likely to change after the COVID-19 pandemic is the way we work.

I reckon there will be a huge shift towards more home-working, with employees only having to go ‘into the office’ occasionally for meetings that can’t be done by video conference. This will give people a better work-life balance, which in turn will make for more motivated and productive employees.

The knock-on effect could be that huge corporations with large office blocks in cities around the world will find that they will not need such huge buildings and will be able to cut costs.

If the majority of their workforce is working remotely, then those vast office complexes will not be needed. A much smaller office will be needed, for the occasional meetings. Additionally, it may be that instead of one huge head office, several, smaller satellite regional offices will be used.

Indeed, it could be that more co-working spaces like We Work will spring up that will be utilised by large corporations who will rent space.

Business Travel

My second prediction follows on from a change towards more remote working, and that is a reduction in business travel.

Again, something that lockdown and being forced to work from home has shown business, is that it is possible to connect, network and do global business without getting in your car or on a plane to meet face-to-face.

Of course, there’s always going to be some issues that will require an on-site, face-to-face meeting, however in many cases video conferencing will be as good as a face-to-face meeting.

Also, if more people are working remotely that means rush hour could become a thing of the past. No more sitting in daily traffic jams or paying a fortune to squeeze onto public transport and end up rammed up against a sweaty armpit!

Environmental improvement

As more people work from home and business travel decreases, both commuting and global travel, my logical third prediction is that we will start to see an improvement in the environment.

Indeed, due to the lockdown in Italy, the city of Venice has seen a vast improvement in the quality of water in the canals. Instead of a dark murkiness, the water has cleared and fish are visible.

I also happen to live near an airport, and have noticed that the permanent night orange glow from the airport has obviously disappeared and been replaced by a perfect dark night, with the stars more visible than normal.

If, and obviously it’s a big if, more people start working remotely and the amount of global business travel reduces, this means that the amount of air pollution from cars, buses, trains, and planes could decrease significantly. This will go a little way to helping the planet recover, surely?

Social greetings

On a social scale, there have been rumours that COVID-19 could spell the end of handshakes.

I mean, let’s face it, they are unhygienic, after all. You don’t know if the person you’ve shaken hands with washed their hands after going to the toilet! Even before this started I used to carry hand sanitizer in my handbag and after leaving any meeting would ‘gel up’.

And irrespective of the hygiene perspective, if you’re like me that could spell disaster, as I unashamedly can make a decision based on a handshake. I have been known to turn down a job offer purely because of a wet, limp handshake!

But if the handshake does disappear, what will take its place?

What will be the impact of COVID-19?

COVID-19 will undoubtedly impact many of us; added stress and pressure from enforced lockdown, financial insecurities, home-schooling children and potentially the loss of friends or relatives.

Whilst the medical sector is working tirelessly under unprecedented circumstances to treat so many people and governments all over the world are doing their best to contain the spread of the virus, the economic impact will affect us all, potentially for many years.

Many small businesses have already been affected and closed their doors, big businesses too have been affected and ‘furloughed’ many staff, and in some cases making many redundant as well. Although governments make promises of financial assistance the money has to come from somewhere, so we are all going to have to be prepared to pay it back somehow.

So brace yourselves, because once this is all over, we could all be in for a rough ride.

The forecasts are all pointing to potentially the highest levels of unemployment ever seen coupled with a global recession worse than any in living memory, worse even than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Whatever the future holds, right now we are all fighting an invisible enemy that doesn’t discriminate and is literally on the warpath. So we need to stay focused on keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe, and if that means we have to stay at home, surely that’s worth it?

Now I’d like to hear from you.

How has COVID-19 affected you? Have you had it? How’s working from home going for you, or are you one of the many who have been furloughed?

What are your thoughts on how COVID-19 will impact our lives?

Let me know by leaving a comment.

Stay safe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.