The general consensus amongst experts is that we will probably be dealing with the immediate threat from COVID-19 for the next 18-24 months in some way or another, but there’s a growing realization that even once Coronavirus is ‘over’ in the immediate sense, it will have changed the shape of the world forever.
Several international futurists say that the coronavirus works as an accelerator of futures. The pandemic anticipates changes that were already underway, such as remote work, distance education, the search for sustainability and the demand for more socially responsible companies.
Having this in mind, this article explores some trends and possible predictions of what our world may be like once we have left this pandemic behind. The transformations are countless and include politics, economics, business models, social relations, culture, and social psychology, among other things.
Covid-19 will change society’s habits and also make people review their values. According to Pete Lunn, Head of behavioral research of Trinity College Dublin, crisis force communities to come together and work more as teams, whether it is in the neighborhoods or between employees of companies for example, and this can affect the values of those who live in this period – just like the generations that lived during wars.
Change in consumers’ habits is expected as the financial crisis resulting from the pandemic alone will be a reason for people to save more and review their consumption habits. Moreover, people are concerned about the value of things, their environmental impact, and the generation of a positive impact on society or the engagement with a cause. This makes it necessary to rethink the consumer society and reflect what is essential in the upcoming years.
“The pandemic anticipates changes that were already underway.”
Furthermore, due to COVID-19 the majority of shopping moved online, and after this pandemic this tendency is expected to prevail. Businesses that didn’t have an online option might face financial ruin. In order to remain competitive, businesses should figure out ways to have online services in a postcoronavirus world.
Another consequence of this pandemic is that it’s expected that we’ll have fewer touch screens, once people are now hyper-aware of every touchable surface that could transmit disease, and more contactless interfaces and interactions, such as voice interfaces and machine vision interfaces.
New business models will emerge. Two examples that are already observable include restaurants, since delivery services might continue to increase or even become the main source of revenues in some cases, and also healthcare professionals that, given the circumstances, are open for telemedicine or virtual consultations, but might find this a convenient business model after the pandemic as well.
All these factors lead to the strengthening of digital Infrastructure. Digital solutions to keep meetings, lessons, workouts, and more going when sheltering in our homes, allowed many of us to see the possibilities for continuing some of these practices in a post-COVID-19 world.
Home office was already a reality for many people, but this model will grow even more. With the pandemic, more companies of different sizes and activities started to organize themselves to work this way. The expansion of e-learning and digital events is also anticipated. A rise in hybrid events where parts of the event take place in person and others are delivered digitally is predicted.
COVID-19 might be tiring our systems and patience, but it’s also building our resilience and allowing us to develop new and innovative solutions out of necessity. After this immediate crisis is done, we need to remember what worked in an emergency, and use it to bring in a new era of sharing power, responsibility and wealth.
Article published in our April Newsletter
Marília Souza, MSc in Finance