There have been a lot of discussions focused on how everyone is coping with our new COVID world both in our personal and professional lives. While we can all agree that there have been devasting impacts on lives and businesses, there have also been some amazing positive changes that we will not want to see reversed in the post-COVID world.
BOWEN’s VP-Corporate Development, Patricia Kaiser, has always been a ‘glass half full’ kind of person. She sees us entering a new world that is fundamentally different from what we knew before – a better, brighter world.
Working from home may become the new norm given the complexities of trying to manage large workforces in office towers safely. Both Facebook and Twitter are considering making working from home a permanent option which removes the commute, reduces our carbon footprint and allows us to enjoy the flexibility and work-life balance while remaining productive. This change will likely lead to improvements in new home designs and a suburban boom where people can live, work and play in their communities.
I used to live on planes having to travel weekly, but I believe there will be a major shift in travel. Air Canada has posted billions of dollars in losses, and discount airlines are not expected to survive. So, with fewer airlines flying, reduced schedules with fewer direct flights and fewer people travelling, ticket prices are expected to skyrocket. We will likely see the end of short-stay business trips giving us more time at home with friends and family and virtual meetings with clients and partners continuing.
While I have not ventured out to get my nails or hair done yet, many of my friends have, and all not only enjoyed the services but were complimentary of the cleaning rigour that went into their visits. It is a good thing. I did visit a mall recently and was sad to see so many stores closed, likely some permanently. Shopping online has surged, and the focus on fast delivery and personalized marketing has made this experience a good one which I expect to continue well into the foreseeable future.
One article suggests that “we are entering a new evolutionary stage, in which big companies will get bigger, many mom-and-pop dreams will burst, chains will proliferate and flatten the idiosyncrasies of many neighbourhoods.” The same article also says that if cities become less desirable in the next few years, they will also become cheaper to live in with more affordable rents which could attract more interesting people, ideas and businesses.
We have all witnessed fewer people riding transit, subways and taxis, but people are cycling and walking more. Bike sales have gone through the roof. Again, this is a great shift towards a healthier and more active lifestyle, mainly if we are living, working and playing in our backyards.
The other shift I have seen is the level of care, compassion and collaboration between countries, communities and citizens all focused on finding ways to help one another, particularly those less fortunate. Don Tapscott, co-founder and executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute, said, “When this all ends—and it will, eventually—the way we perform our jobs, entertain ourselves and go about our daily lives could see a dramatic change for the better. We could become better global citizens, more interested in the news and political choices, more self-involved, more family-oriented, more connected and more appreciative of life.” I agree and hope humankind sees the pandemic as a call to action to be better and do better, not just now but instead, over the long term.
In summary, so much change and negative disruption have taken place over the last six months but with it has come positive impacts that I trust will help to shape a much better world for the collective “us” and future generations to come.