Has any good come out of the Coronavirus pandemic? Maybe it is too early even to think in such terms when the disease still moves amongst us and lives are still being lost. But with a global crisis of such proportions, we can see how COVID-19 has led to rapid and radical change – not just for the present but for the foreseeable future.
We have been reminded that change is inevitable. Sometimes change is forced upon us at such speed and ferocity that we have little time to make measured judgements or take time to pause before must act, other times change is driven by a need to improve - Either way, it is unavoidable.
A recent editorial in Forbes magazine suggested that “most of today’s business owners are going to have advantage over those who didn’t have to fight to stay afloat through a pandemic”; in other words, the challenges have made the survivors stronger.
The author invited business owners to turn back the clock to 1990, “when you likely had never heard of the word ‘website’”. Or to 2000, when businesses were unable to promote themselves on social media because Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn had yet to be created. More recently, in 2010, most companies did not have an App that enabled them to conduct business over a smartphone.
The moral of the story is to make sure that we invest in the future, regardless of any unknown hazards we may have to face.
More worrying perhaps are the changes to social behaviour and consumer expectations. Only a few short decades ago we were happy to wait a little time for the items we bought - now we expect them to be delivered the same day.
While our changing attitudes are something to tolerate, new rules and regulations pose a less negotiable threat. COVID-19 has forced us to bring in regulations to protect both our physical and mental health at home and in the workplace – compulsory face masks, social distancing and travel restrictions, for examples.
We also have much more to consider on the environmental front, with the ‘green agenda’ pressing us all to abandon fossil fuels for our cars and in our homes in favour of cleaner, renewable alternatives. In time, new laws will be passed to which we will have to comply.
Suffice to say, normal will bear little resemblance to how we used to see things. But, looking on the bright side, having less time to prevaricate may be a good thing. Progress can’t wait.