These days, I find myself waking up with a serious Corona Hangover – but not the kind you get after sipping one too many beers on a secluded and exotic beach (unfortunately…).
No, my hangover is very much the result of constant and pounding news of the Corona outbreak or the second wave or of the world ending (physically or financially). The new norm of ‘giving an elbow’ instead of a handshake. The constant worry of having left the mic ‘on’ when going to the loo during a work videocall. Or beginning ‘Friends’ again because there’s nothing left to watch on Netflix.
As days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, weekdays and weekends long ago merged. My only escape is to sober myself up and see the cup as half full rather than half empty.
For one thing, our work habits are likely to be forever altered. As we got used to working from home during the pandemic, many employers got behind to the concept. In fact, it has become increasingly evident that remote working can benefit them, too.
Case to point, several large corporations have already announced that workers will have the choice to keep working from home for a long while – such as Google (until at least 2021) and Twitter (forever). Even more striking: a survey of CFO conducted by Gartner showed that 74% plan to leave some of their workforce in remote positions post-COVID-19 and nearly 25% of them stated their intention to move at least 20% of their employees to remote work permanently.
The pandemic will have proven to be the perfect (but perhaps not so ideal) situation to experiment with widespread home working. Now that it has proven to be effective, and with limited impact on employees’ productivity – thanks in no small part to the rise in remote working solutions such as Zoom and Slack – many companies will jump on this opportunity to implement some cost-cutting measures.
Expect them to shrink office space and shift to a no-assigned-desks policy. Expect employees to come in one or two days a week for important meetings and work from home the rest of the time. Think about that… not having to listen to your colleague’s awful heavy metal music all day long. Sounds like heaven to me.
Travel is another sector which will feel a long-term impact from the coronavirus crisis. There is virtually no leisure travelling happening right now – something most of us are keenly aware of. In fact, a BCG report showed that travelling is consistently ranked as the number one activity people miss most during this pandemic (across countries, ages and income levels).
36% of US consumers reported that they could see themselves going on holiday this summer. This “dormant wanderlust” sentiment leads most experts to agree that travel will quickly pick up once restrictions are lifted – but that the way we travel will be quite different.
For one thing, while the pandemic still lasts, I expect airlines and airports will deploy a series of measures to guarantee safe and secure flying – such as getting tested at the airport or leaving middle seats empty to keep social distancing between passengers (this might very well be the best thing that results from this pandemic).
In the near future, expect to see more health checks performed at the airport, such as thermal scans, to ensure the health and safety of all passengers. Expect queues and crowded spaces in airport to be handled differently and immigration and security processes to be streamlined to that end. As passengers take control of their health, expect airlines and airports to make more efforts to keep public spaces and planes hygienic. This is quite good news knowing the dirtiest parts of an airplane are not necessarily its toilets but rather seat belts, tray tables, seat pockets, and headrests…
So as we now look at the good instead of the bad, I’m going to start enjoying the new ways of life and appreciate what they bring.