These are strange times. While working from home and having one Zoom meeting after another is nothing new to me personally, the isolation being forced upon everyone is. But luckily, I am older, and my social circle is relatively small. I see my colleagues juggling life with little kids, work demands, and fears for their family, all while learning to work from home. Fear is thriving during this crisis.
Innovation occurs successfully when new ideas are exploited to improve efficiencies and effectiveness . A silver lining of this crisis is that it will cause several disruptive innovations as people work through new ways of business as usual. Here are the five most significant changes that I predict will be part of the resurrection of business to follow these trying times.
Remote work will explode.
After this, companies will be forced to realize several business changes they did not previously want to believe. I think this will lead to a more substantial conclusion that offices are not necessarily the most effective places to work. As some businesses are forced to close specific office locations, and people working in these closed locations are removed, many of these office spaces will not be part of what is rebuilt.
The world of working remotely solves many of the ill’s companies have today, including a shortage of local talent, rising leasing costs, traffic fatigue in many areas. Maintaining a sizeable remote staff will be a new normal. Remote work has been fought for years, most publicly by IBM, but this experiment we are living will change all that. I predict in 2021 that a third of all jobs are remote, driven by extreme unemployment as well.
Health Insurance will become a government service, not tied to employment.
Many workers are being left with limited insurance as they lose their jobs, while the medical concerns of the country are simultaneously accelerating the need and fears of being without it. The scale of this occurring with 10M layoffs during COVID will lead to regulatory changes and insurance becoming more state-driven in private/public partnerships. People now will understand how health can impact the economy, and change will come. Universal income may not be so far behind if unemployment rises to unprecedented levels.
Gig Work will exponentially grow.
This current state of working at the whim of the economy and your company’s future will make many released workers realize being a high paid employee with years of experience and knowledge is equivalent to high valued contract work. Tenure of CMO’s is under 18 months; many more executive roles are just a year. People will choose to work several jobs on their own, versus being at the mercy of one company. The health insurance changes mentioned above will increase this even further. These jobs will also migrate upstream to include management, consulting, and other professional traditional full-time sectors of work. Gig work will become prevalent in all sectors, no longer just delivery and rideshares. Gig work will be invigorated by the speed of layoffs and furloughs this crisis has borne.
Some industries will be unrecognizable.
Retail, Services, Events, and Tourism businesses will not come back as they once were. Our shopping and travel habits are going to change. The retail apocalypse forecasted will occur as we move out of this crisis. Companies will realize that having someone take a virtual conference at home for a few days is a lot more useful than a week away with travel costsDomestic travel will see a large pickup, all the while fears will continue to exist of a relapse. Out of these changes, new and innovative solutions will emerge.
The environment will notice.
The global benefits seen in the background of this crisis will not go unnoticed. It is remarkable to continue to see the environmental gains that a few weeks of lack of human contact have created. We will see change in human action. Look at the waterway changes across Europe and the US that have glistened during this lack of engagement. The reduction in smog and increased visibility over cities when people are not driving. The lack of air travel is cleaning the sky and there are significant benefits to less congestion across our oceans. As we fight to see good in this crisis, don’t overlook these side effects
Innovation thrives in challenging times.
Change is driven by challenging times. Leaders who are willing to look past the short-term concerns and address the future will thrive as we rebound. Those businesses and leaders who can carve out pockets of innovation will see significant market share gains. The biggest difference will be driven by leaders who can survive by their size, or find disruptive innovation as their only way to survive. Please, survive this crisis and try to make decisions that have the smallest impact on your staff possible. But also carve out time in this isolation to think about what will make your company rebound more strongly and innovate at the same time.