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How coronavirus has altered the course of human history

Will the economic and societal fallout be more painful than the coronavirus?

Thomas Frey //May 27, 2020//

How coronavirus has altered the course of human history

Will the economic and societal fallout be more painful than the coronavirus?

Thomas Frey //May 27, 2020//

A couple days ago I was contacted by Anastasia Levchenko. Chief Correspondent for the Sputnik News Agency based in Italy. She asked if I could answer a series of interview questions about the changing state of the world because of the coronavirus.

Never before in history have we seen the dashboard of life have so many knobs twisted, levers pulled, buttons pressed and dials tweaked and we had in the first few months of 2020.Throughout everything, technology will progress, our challenges will still be there, and every problem will still have an opportunity to solve it.

How will coronavirus change leadership?

Every year 9.6 million people die from cancer, 730,000 from Malaria, 887,000 from Hepatitis B and 1.1 million from Tuberculosis, but these statistics aren’t making headlines nearly as much as COVID-19. The reason I’m bringing this up is because good leadership is about perspective and priorities.

In the world’s current state of fear and panic, it’s inconceivable to think that leaders won’t be severely criticized for bad decisions after things die down. And, it’s uncertain whether it’s possible to make good decisions right now.

However, a great crisis is where great leaders are born. And in learning from this situation, future leadership will be far more data driven, with far more data points, to determine both perspectives and priorities.

The recent wave of layoffs and unpaid vacations will force companies and factories to be more efficient when it is all over. Many business operations are seeing much more efficient operations during the crisis and now realize they can get by with far fewer employees, and as a result will cut back in the future. At the same time, many are using this time to launch new products, businesses and services.

How will work and management culture be impact by COVID-19?

This is such a unique period in history because the normal s-curve adoption rates in many areas of tech have been replaced with a straight vertical line. Anyone who can possibly work from home has been forced to learn all the tools and apps necessary to become functional working at home. Plus, while at home, people are having to get used to new on-demand delivery services, for food and for supplies.

Stores, supermarkets and restaurants are quickly replacing traditional retailers with non-customer facing distribution center. Plus, they’re adopting new technologies to make curbside and delivery possible.

The work-from-home culture requires a unique set of tools ranging from better WiFi, VPNs, state-of-the-art hardware, message tools and video conferencing tools. Ironically, most traditional colleges are not teaching the necessary skills for online tools and apps.

However, there is much more involved in having people work-from-home than tools, apps, and hardware. Workers need to be self-motivated with good time-management skills and must feel comfortable in the isolation of their own homes. As a result. managers need to manage differently.

In general, in the future we should see a sharp increase in work-from-home operations, a sharp increase in demand for coworking spaces that fulfill our need for social contact in a collaborative workspace environments and an increased use of technology in workplaces.

How will our daily routines and lifestyles be changed by the pandemic?

For people all over the planet, the COVID-19 crisis has drastically impacted their lives and futures. Some are watching every newscast for the next update; others are re-engineering their career path to take advantage of emerging opportunities; and many are living in a state of fear, not knowing where their next meal will come from or who will take care of their children.

Every newscast is building on the fear and panic, driving many into a state of depression, anger, and hopelessness. Savvy politicians are trying to reposition their agenda to take advantage of it. No one is being left unscathed.

This is a pandemic that will never end. It will leave deep scars on both the social and business fabric of society. For many industries, like those working in travel and vacation businesses, recovery will take years, maybe decades.

While there are many possible scenarios for how the future will unfold, here are a few trend lines that I expect to see:

  • This will go down in the history books as the most expensive crisis in all history. Every country is creating a bailout package to save their businesses and put food on the table for the average worker. Over the coming month, inflation will raise its ugly head as the infusion of new capital begins to create a whole new set of problems.
  • Governments will vow to be more digital, more prepared and more crisis-ready. As the same time, they will attempt to take back much of the power and control they’ve lost to multinational corporations. They will also vow to never let a single disease shut down the world ever again.
  • The healthcare industry should be prepared for some radical overhauls. While individual healthcare workers have performed extraordinarily well, it has pointed out some deep-seated flaws in healthcare systems all over the world. Both governments and its citizens will demand more in the future.
  • Every movie, television show, book, game, comic book and research study produced before COVID-19 will feel dated.
  • The airline industry will be transformed into a new, less busy, experience. It will take a long time to rebuild the industry to the traffic levels of the pre-2020 glory years.
  • Our great study-at-home experiment will change education forever. Virtually every parent and child in the world has gotten a taste of what homeschooling is all about, and many will not want to go back to the same government-run schools. Others will have a new appreciation for teachers and government-run schools. Plus, the emerging education technology will make education more individualized.
  • Cocooning is about to become a new social norm. There’s something very therapeutic about distancing yourself from the stresses of daily life and cuddling up in your own ‘cocoon.”
  • The unintended consequences will be huge. We will be blindsided by the unintended consequences resulting from the fixes engineered by our politicians.

Final Thoughts

Despite all our progress and technological advancements, we are still very vulnerable. This time it was a pandemic, but next time it may be a massive solar flare, a giant EMP blast, asteroid hitting the earth, or something else. The flaws of our aging systems, standards, processes, and businesses have been identified and we will be forever changed by this.

If technology progresses the way I have predicted, we are on the verge of an explosive transformation. Buckle your seatbelts, it’s going to be a rough ride.