How COVID-19 Will Change Our World
One morning last week, I checked my email first thing in the morning, and during the night I had received a request to do online media training for a large international company with a head office in Europe. I'll be doing the training in a couple of weeks.
It made me think about how my business has changed because of the pandemic. There's no reason I can't do media training for people on other continents, I just didn't think about it in the past.
I also thought about how life is already different and what will happen when things "get back to normal." I do believe the pandemic will change our lives in more ways than most of us suspect.
The Power of Video Unleashed
For years I’ve wondered why so many organizations continue to have nothing but face-to-face meetings. People driving across town, or flying in from another part of the province, country, or even the world for a meeting, only to turn around and head home the same day, or perhaps the following day. It’s crazy when you think about the cost, time wasted and damage to the environment. It does help the economy I guess, but that should be a minor consideration because I’m sure the money saved would be spent elsewhere.
I think the pandemic has opened people’s eyes to the convenience and effectiveness of meeting virtually. People are using Zoom and other video platforms to stay in touch with each other in the office, organization, or family and friends, and doing it quite effectively. There’s little wonder why shares of Zoom have soared by around 112% in the last few weeks.
I also believe the pandemic will get more companies to allow their employees to work from home, especially when they eventually realize how much they can save by reducing office space, lunch rooms and parking.
Unfortunately for me and others who are in the business I’m in, I expect we’ll see a change in conferences and events. I don’t expect big conferences and trade shows to be drastically affected, but I wonder if smaller events will see their delegates get together virtually more often?
We’ll see a move towards people using technology to help them do their work. There was an excellent article in the Edmonton Journal last week that pointed out how the legal community was brought kicking and screaming into using tools as simple as email and electronic documents this month. For years the legal system needed printed copies and actual signatures. There will be no turning back now.
Germs Become Public Enemy #1
Once things get back to normal we will see an end to social distancing. When they start playing sports again fans won’t be able to sit four or five seats apart in stadiums and arenas, but things will be different.
I expect all businesses to think much more about ways to prevent the spread of germs. I expect we’ll see hand sanitizer stands and sani-wipes become the norm at many businesses, theatres, arenas and rec facilities we enter.
Restaurants will have to change. Buffets and other places where food is shared will have to change the way food is served. I expect to see restaurants hand out packets of sanitized wipes before dinner is served and after too.
We've already seen the temporary end to people being able to use their own grocery bags at food stores. I'm not sure they'll be allowed again. I do expect much more business down the road for services where stores pick grocery items for customers. That's hugely popular these days and now that so many people have tried it, I expect it to flourish.
Stores selling foods in bulk will have to change the way they do business. Customers now touch the handle of the same scoop and although people aren't supposed to sample items, some do.
What about potlucks at work, in schools and in churches? Will we want to risk food made in people’s homes, transported to where the meal is served and then shared by others? We're becoming much more conscious of the way germs are spread and we will look at our habits differently for a long time to come.
As a society, I expect we will become much more vigilant, at least for awhile, with others who go to work or school ill.
People will be instructed if they’re ill they should stay home and now that we know people can work from home, having most employees spend a few days away from work won’t be such an issue. I also expect we’ll see a change in the way schools operate. For many years, parents have sent their kids to school even if they clearly were ill. Schools will stop accepting sick kids and new rules will be put in place by school boards to force parents to keep children home.
Then there are cruises. I’m sure cruise lines can’t wait to get going again and they’ll offer huge discounts to get business back. However, I wonder if they’ll ever be the same as people now realize cruise ships are really huge floating petri dishes? Once a virus starts to spread on a ship it moves quickly and then there’s the problem of getting to a safe port when the ship is contaminated.
I don’t expect we’ll wash our hands as much in a few months as we do now, but there’s been so much education about hand washing and proper ways to cough or sneeze that there will be long-lasting effects, which of course, is great.
We’ll also be better prepared for the next outbreak. When things get back to normal, governments everywhere will establish warehouses filled with everything from masks to disinfectants.
The day will come when we start shaking hands again. It will feel weird and I hope we remember to wash our hands, because we never want to go through this again.
Something Great While Social Distancing
If you want to find out more about the Online Media Coaching I offer, click here. You can book training and choose the day that works best for you. It's affordable and you get a one-on-one three-hour media training workshop online.
Grant, 'thanks' for your well-reasoned and well articulated predictions. I think you're spot on. Everyone's anxious to get 'back to normal' but you have articulated brilliantly what that 'normal' will look like.
Thanks Donald. I think things will change more than most of us suspect.
Thanks for your insight. Helpful. I suspect your comments, for the most part. will become our future reality.
Just some educated best guesses. It will be interesting to check back in a year, but I can't believe we will go back to the way things were.