My thoughts on 10 ways (in no particular order) the world will be different after Covid-19.
- Business travel will decline dramatically and stay down. People have figured out that much of white-collar work can be done without meeting in person, and will choose that option going forward.
- Personal/leisure travel will rebound. You can’t really Zoom into a beach vacation or a mountain top.
- In the same context, cruises (rightly, much maligned) will return from massive pent-up demand and with new safety and hygiene procedures that will be adopted/enforced
- The number of airlines and airplanes in the skies will shrink as a direct result of the decline in business travel
- Working from home is here to stay. Again, jobs that can be done from home will get fine-tuned in how effectively they are done. Many people are not going to go back to the office to work, especially if long commutes are involved. This will make for happier employees.
This includes a permanent increase in tele-medicine, where more and more patient consults will happen remotely. And a concomitant rise in diagnostic machines that can inform the doctor from a distance.
- Business/commercial workspace rentals will stay depressed for a long time to come. This will be a direct result of the point above
- Brick’n’mortar retail will be on its last legs. What Amazon couldn’t do, Covid-19 will — i.e. deal a near-fatal blow to retail as we’ve known it. Unless you’re a specialty store that really needs you to go in physically to try something out, people will stick to the new habit of buying things online.
- Grocery delivery — the Instacarts and curbside pickup, will thrive
- Food delivery will flourish in this next year or so, but then plateau/decline a bit as people get comfortable going out to eat again
- How we greet one another will change. Again, on the business front, fewer handshakes and perhaps more adoption of Asian greeting styles, whether the bow or namaste, or just a greeting from afar (6 feet apart?).
- We will all get used to the idea of carrying Purell or similar with us at all times
- Germaphobes will no longer be viewed as weird pariahs
- Restaurants and bars will make a return. But anywhere from a third or more of the restaurants you know today may not survive the downturn depending on how long it lasts. But people will want to get back to doing what they love — eating, drinking and hanging with their friends.
- All airports will introduce temperature control check points as standard/default. If you’ve traveled through Asian airports since the SARS outbreak, you know that some of this became standard there, but now expect it to be rolled out across all major airports.
- China will lose some commercial primacy for a few different reasons.
- The world will be warier of so many eggs in one basket and want to diversify their risks
- Unless China permanently shuts down wet markets, the rest of the world will want to hold China accountable for what happened in 2020
- In-home diagnostic machines will be available and subsidized by the governments of rich nations. Ideally, tests that can help you detect viruses, anti-bodies, etc without having to leave your home. A combination of hardware and update-able software (to test for new pathogens, etc.). Think home tests for diabetes, except much smarter and adaptable. And more expensive.
- We will replace the process of signing of packages from UPS, Fedex etc. where you need to share a pen/stylus to affix your imprimatur. Instead, most authentication will be done digitally via your phone or similar.
Until then, stay safe, stay healthy!