Life as we know it has completely changed thanks to COVID-19 and won’t likely return to the way it was. With that in mind, here’s how things will look like in the post-pandemic world.
Due to the ongoing pandemic we are experiencing, several industries worldwide are forced to make radical changes in their structures and ways of functioning. Since then, many aspects of today’s society are being reshaped, and the feeling that our lives are going to change completely has settled within us.
Many believe that some of these changes will be temporary, but the reality seems to be that most of them are likely to be permanent. How will our lives change? How will things look like in the post-pandemic world? Let’s see.
1. Online education and training
The Covid-19 outbreak has affected educational systems, leading to the total closure of schools, institutes, and universities. This has driven the exploration of online approaches, such as virtual learning programs, applications, and digital platforms.
Online education has also opened the landscape to greater access to knowledge and information. The offer of free access to diverse online resources, content, and digital repositories increases every day.
With this sudden shift, the question is whether the adoption of online learning will persist in a post-pandemic reality. Although there is still an uneven educational gap where not everyone has equal access to education and technology, many believe a new hybrid model of education will emerge. That new model would be one where online learning will integrate with in-person classes. Online education will be recognized as essential to every school’s plan and as a complement to traditional methods.
Beyond that, governments will have to look at new teaching approaches. The game rules will change, and world leaders will have to focus on setting the legislation and parameters around the new educational models. Connectivity, accessibility, and the development of high-speed network technologies will also take a higher place in the priorities.
2. New business models
Covid-19 has also brought to light the fragility of the modern supply chain, especially for those companies that depend on countries vastly affected by the crisis to fulfill their need for raw materials or finished products. Organizations will start considering the in-house manufacturing of products or goods or building smarter and more diverse supply chains instead of relying on one vendor.
Outsourcing services in countries that are more reliable and with better cost-effective solutions will then gain a spot in the list, as companies can focus on their core business. Digitalization and a true innovation mindset will play an important role in making this happen.
In a few words, planning resources, connecting with partners, and rapidly shifting traditional models into digital and automated organizations are some of the imperatives to thrive in this uncertain context.
3. Technology and digital transformation
As I mentioned before, the actual context has forced companies to accelerate their digital transformation. Although speeding up the pace of digitalization has turned out to be a great challenge, it also means an opportunity to become a smarter and more agile organization.
Shortly, we could also see Artificial Intelligence (AI) being an important part of our lives. Microsoft announced the preview of Project Bonsai, a new AI development platform for developing autonomous industrial control systems that can be used to make factories more efficient. We could also see more investments in research to develop efficient and cost-effective methods to train robots in different tasks. Amazon is already working with robots in their warehouses.
The Cloud is also playing an essential role in helping businesses go digital. The demand for Cloud solutions is increasing more and more. For instance, Microsoft announced the launch of the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. It is an industry-specific Cloud solution for healthcare providers that integrates the Microsoft Cloud with an industry-specific data model, cross-cloud connectors, workflows, and APIs. This provides industry solutions aligned to priority scenarios, with automation and efficiency on high-value workflows and deep data analysis on both structured and unstructured data.
Last but not least, in the two-plus months of global lockdown, millions of people are now working from home, turning to remote working as the new normality. Gartner revealed that 75% of companies plan to shift to more remote work permanently post-Covid-19. Twitter, for example, confirmed that employees will be able to continue working remotely indefinitely.
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The healthcare sector was also forced to go digital. Health care providers rapidly adopt teleconsulting video calls to treat patients. Simultaneously, the entire system has changed its protocols to cope with the situation without leaving anyone with no medical attention. This has helped to avoid crowded waiting rooms, and doctors can prescribe medicine to patients.
We are also witnessing broader telehealth solutions. Clinics and hospitals are adopting digital technologies and devices to monitor patients’ conditions remotely. AliveCor, a company that provides mobile electrocardiogram (EKG) technology, has made its heart monitoring EKG device more available for patients to use at home and for clinics to use on Covid-19 patients.
Besides contributing to the actual context, other challenges appear. The availability of tests (not only for Covid-19 but for many other diseases), velocity, and accuracy in their results will take precedence.
Telemedicine is a fact that is expected to advance even further in the upcoming years. Deloitte predicts that by 2030, industry-wide investments will be significantly higher than today, as 74% anticipated that investments in virtual health will increase by 25% or more.
5. Global environment rules
Around the world, levels of toxic air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions are dropping due to the full global closure of industries, mandatory quarantines, travel restrictions, and the shutting down of power stations and factories.
This new reality has led many governments to reconsider measures to encourage more cycling and walking, both during and after the lockdown. In places like Milan or New York City, this has already happened as they have plans to reconfigure roads. Additionally, the improvement in air quality during the pandemic has made more people consider switching to electric cars.
However, two possible scenarios could show up in the new normal life. One, the world will return to the unbridled consumption of fossil fuels, unleashing an accumulated demand for oil and coal. Many countries might choose to relax the application of some environmental standards amidst efforts to contain the pandemic and save their economies. The second option would be to move towards a more sustainable recovery, with policies that encourage a low-carbon future.
The impact of the Coronavirus on the planet may ultimately depend on decisions made on how governments want their economies to look when they recover and, in particular, to what extent they will continue to rely on fossil fuels. This raises one question: What should happen to start thinking about a meaningful change?
6. A new way of living
Another change is defining our new normality: how people will think, behave, and relate with others. Not attending meetings or crowded places for fear of the contagion, for example, is something that may persist for a while.
According to a Statista survey covering consumer attitudes, many Americans plan to avoid certain mass gatherings even after restrictions have been lifted. Among the places people will likely avoid for a while, movie theaters, bars, and concerts rank the list with more than 50%.
The new normal life will be crossed by social distancing, extreme hygiene measures, and face masks. As for hugs, kisses, and handshakes, the future is uncertain.
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The new world after Covid-19
The Coronavirus has been an external shock that has redefined many dimensions of our lives. These changes will be part of the world’s new normality, and contrary to what many believe, instead of simply recovering and going back to pre-pandemic years, some changes may settle in our lives forever.
Although adapting to this new context has been quite challenging, this also represents an opportunity for many companies to accelerate their transformation and become more agile and smart organizations.
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