What’s the strategy as COVID-19 changes things forever?

April 24 2020

How should we shift our thinking right now to position for the lasting impact of COVID-19 on how we live and work?

4-5 weeks into the massive time-out forced on the whole world, we already have the opportunity for insight into this. FastCompany asked leading executives, venture capitalists, and analysts for thoughts on the change they expect to see ahead.

AGILITY and ADAPTABILITY are going to be key, for us personally, and for business and workplaces. If you’re not already, how about using that as a starting point for planning now?

And the following is a great nudge to our thinking. Key themes covered in the following snapshot summary of the responses are:

  1. A critical time for Leadership
  2. A move away from centrality
  3. Change in the office workspace
  4. Working from home part of the new normal
  5. The digital migration accelerates
  6. Retail and hospitality flexes up
  7. Education goes virtual
  8. Healthcare confronts some old problems
  9. Venture capital and the debt
  10. Transportation rebounds and evolves
  11. Manufacturing gets a wake-up call

A critical time for Leadership

In times of great uncertainty, the most critical skill is adaptability as conditions change; focusing on surviving in the current moment while also building toward thriving in a different future.

Leaders are creating space in organisations for people to be generative, despite the challenging and stressful environment.

By separating the process of generating ideas from critiquing and selecting them, we are seeing organisations and individuals rewarded with a far wider range of potential solutions.

A move away from centrality

Company “headquarters” will be located in the cloud.

People who have been considering a move, to tap into the sector expertise (healthcare, food and agriculture, etc.) that exists in many parts of the country, or for a lifestyle change, or to be near family and friends, may choose this moment to relocate, accelerating a talent boomerang, and helping emerging startup cities rise.

The increased willingness to accept remote working as a viable arrangement following this prolonged work-from-home period will further propel this trend.

Remote hiring of technical talent will become the norm, accelerated by the normalisation of remote work. This will make the tech talent pool more diverse, and our businesses and economy stronger.

Change in the office workspace

This will be the death of open space work environments where it is easy for viruses to spread.

Organisations will ditch the notion of having a big office and revert back to a small-town model of working in cluster offices with more remote work.

A change in what is acceptable in the office and what is acceptable at home, with more intimate moments allowing us to have deeper and more meaningful connections as humans.

Working from home part of the new normal

The pandemic has resulted in the largest “work from home” experiment ever conducted in human history. Internet traffic patterns are shifting. People are accessing more educational resources online; finding unconventional ways to connect with coworkers, friends, and family. Employers are being more flexible in how they respond to employee needs through more dynamic, cloud-based technology.

This time will go down as a turning point for the way people work and learn. People are carrying what they learned and experienced from remote work back to their “new normal.” We’re learning so much about sustained remote work during this time.

Corporate travel for work and board meetings will shift as ‘dialing in’ is seen as acceptable rather than a cop-out. Many organisations will have at least some of their staff working from home – there will be less people in the office, and in turn less demand for office space.

With the increasingly blurred line between work and home time, expectations around availability will change—for the better. For employee-friendly companies, evening hours will ultimately revert to family or personal time, but a change in mindset and process is required.

The digital migration accelerates

The way people are using technology to spend quality time with loved ones, engage with businesses, and perform their jobs is fundamentally shifting to a new normal.

What organisations resisted for a decade is now core to survival and innovation; this digital mindset will persist, and it is highly unlikely companies will try to return to what worked prior to the pandemic.

We could get to a state of nearly universal online access at home.

Using videoconferencing is not only going to become a more common part of life due to this pandemic—the way it shows up through our tech devices will multiply. At work and at home, we’ll ask voice assistants to call our client, our boss, our mom, our friends, and on command, Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, etc., will take us right to those live video conversations.

Our shared experience of being physically isolated from one another will cause us to appreciate and value the privacy and security that comes with end-to-end encryption even more than we did before.

Retail and hospitality flexes up

It’s not the end of brick-and-mortar sites, but the way they operate will change. Businesses that have historically relied on foot traffic as their main source of income will have to develop alternative revenue streams.

More small businesses will develop an online presence that reaches beyond their local neighbourhoods.

Restaurants might permanently link up with delivery service platforms or expand their reach via ghost kitchens.

Education goes virtual

The change we are seeing right now in education is not something that is likely to revert back to “normal” in the fall. Although teachers will always be integral, there will need to be continued flexibility and agility when it comes to things like the delivery of content, testing, and grading, with an increase in blended learning environments that include learning in both the physical classroom setting and online.

The need for online access and devices in every home is now so dire that it may finally mobilise society to treat internet connectivity as a must-have rather than a nice-to-have.

When things are back to normal, Zoom and Slack usage will go down. Instead, we’ll see a boom in technology that is built by entrepreneurs looking to create entirely new experiences custom to the remote education or work experience.

Healthcare confronts some old problems

The healthcare industry will be greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and we can expect digital health technologies to form an essential part of the way forward.

The biggest barrier to ensuring doctors have the most complete medical history on patients is the lack of interoperability among systems, preventing health records from following a patient throughout their care journey. This is a pivotal moment when we can identify and work to fix the underlying problems that plague our system, with researchers, health systems, governments, and enterprises pooling efforts and data.

Diversified outsourcing with multiple vendors in multiple locations to make sure that there is business continuity will be here to stay. We’ll see banking of human tissue and blood samples to have a stockpile in case of future disruptions to the supply chain.

Misinformation is especially rampant, and it is imperative that those working in science collectively steward and uphold a standard for how information is translated and shared to the public.

There will be a monumental shift in attitudes toward mental health. Society will develop new levels of empathy and a willingness to talk about mental healthcare as essential. Employers are seeing how emotional well-being is factoring into their workforce’s ability to perform under stress. Ideally they will come out of this better able to recognise their obligation to prioritise mental healthcare.

Within the next 12 to 18 months, quantum computers will start to routinely solve problems that supercomputers and cloud computing cannot. When humanity faces the next pandemic, a quantum computer will be able to model the virus, and limit the future economic damage and human suffering.

Venture capital and the debt

Many companies, especially those in tech that have been propped up by huge funding rounds and strategies requiring massive monthly burn rates, are teetering on the edge of collapse, facing layoffs and searching for buyers as a last resort. Profitable companies are tightening their belts and carrying on with business (mostly) as usual.

Going forward, investors’ mindsets and qualifications about what constitutes a truly “valuable” company will change; investors will place a greater emphasis on the qualitative aspects, such as an organisation’s structure, team, culture, flexibility, as well as profitability.

There has been a sudden halt on fast money and “FOMO” investing, forcing the Venture Capital industry to slow down, resist the inclination to follow the herd, and refocus on more robust due diligence and analysis.

The Faustian bargain of money printing and debt accumulation will cause people to reevaluate fiat currency regimes altogether. People will start to question the value of the dollars they hold and what will happen when the inevitable day of debt reckoning arrives.

Transportation rebounds and evolves

As we look to the reopening of cities, people will be looking for affordable, reliable ways to stay socially distant while commuting, including turning to transportation options such as ride share, bike share, and scooters.

There will be an opportunity for local governments, as well as key advocates and stakeholders, to consider reshaping our cities to be built around people and not cars.

Countries and regions will emerge from lockdown at different paces, leading to “corridors of travel” between destinations opening back up one by one.

Manufacturing gets a wake-up call

Companies are concerned about the shortages of critical supply chain goods, and looking for alternative sources closer to home. In the long term, businesses and governments will focus on better quantifying the risks faced and incorporating potential losses into business cases. They will model the size and impact of various shock scenarios to determine strategies to rebuild their supply chains and build resilience for the future – including both bringing suppliers closer to home along with other resilience investments.

This pandemic will have a lasting impact on the way physical products are made. The current way of building products in centralised factories with low-cost labour halfway around the world simply can’t weather storms of uncertainty. Moving forward, businesses will mandate much more resilient manufacturing through nearshoring and even onshoring, full automation, and software-based management.

the original story is at https://www.fastcompany.com/90486053/all-the-things-covid-19-will-change-forever-according-to-30-top-experts