Post COVID-19 world

Todd Link

The coronavirus has had a significant influence the past couple of months on nearly everyone’s life and our culture’s way of life.

The question scholars are beginning to ask is what type of lasting impact will COVID-19 have on future business models? There will undoubtedly be change and there are a variety of publications providing a perceived glimpse into what this “new normal” might look like.

I for one am a bit skeptical that we know at this moment what the “new normal” will look like and most importantly how as a society we will feel.

For example, humans are social beings. Large percentages of the population like to spend summer days at a ballpark or amusement park. Will people return with rekindled enthusiasm or will they be a bit skeptical based on the fact that the coronavirus will likely be present past the shelter-in-place requirements and perhaps be active in some areas until a vaccine is created or we develop immunity?

If we trust science, we know that humans don’t set the timeline, “the virus sets the timeline” according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. And it is likely we will have a variety of safety measures put into place to slowly reopen the economy.

Some states with low COVID-19 activity might be able to open earlier, while hard hit areas and “hot spots” could be forced to wait until new cases decline to appropriate levels.

Past the here and the now, I am convinced that we are beginning to see the future of the economy and the workplace. I would equate the changes expected similar to the changes we embraced after the terrible events of 9/11. Some of the items I think will be accelerated:

• Online access to accounts has grown exponentially during the past several years but best-in-class platforms will soon become table stakes in any industry.

• A combination of working exclusively at an office, working exclusively at home or a combination will gain considerable attention as a result of the COVID-19 experiment. The popularity within industries will be driven by client contact and the need for face-to-face meetings.

• Web video meetings have proven an impressive tool for millions of American’s in the past 60 days. That popularity will spill over to a variety of new and creative uses on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Pick-up, drive-thru and home delivery have never felt so good. Coronavirus gave many a need to use these services for personal health, but have now found these services to be a tremendous time saver and a means to add efficiency into an already busy life.

• Growth in paying for real-time entertainment (current movies, concerts, plays and sports) streamed live into your private home. For example, a small group could gather for a meal and watch a live concert that might have been previously done in person.

Despite a lot of enhanced internet and mobile delivery changes, humans always have — and I believe will continue — to have a desire to gather, share and celebrate. We might want to see more space between tables and more readily available public hand washing stations, but I don’t think we will eliminate the innate desire to gather with family and friends.