The coronavirus outbreak is forcing huge shifts in the way we live, work and play. Some of these may result in lasting changes to our society – for starters we all will wash our hands more regularly. It is also forcing people to adopt or see the benefits of new technologies, whose adoption has been more sluggish than it should. Coronavirus could be the global event that accelerates and cements these trends.
- Remote working. Some managers still remain cynical about the productivity of their remote employees. With outbreaks forcing office closures many offices are asking their staff to work remotely instead. This could be the test that proves that people can be just as productive remotely as they can in their offices.
- Automation. With supply chains in crisis and people taking mass sick leave in China, the manufacturing industry has been left reeling. Investment in digital technologies could be accelerated as companies recognise the benefit of automating more processes to minimise disruption.
- Video conferencing. The industry that is perhaps going to carry the biggest burden from the Coronavirus outbreak is the travel sector and especially business travel. Holidaymakers are likely to continue to travel as long as governments allow them to, albeit in smaller numbers. However, many companies are cancelling any non-essential business travel and opting to do things via video conferencing instead. This could lead businesses to reassess the amount they travel, especially with pressure on to reduce carbon footprints.
- Digital payments. Germs. If paper money was struggling to keep a place in your wallet, Coronavirus could be the final kiss goodbye. Digital transactions are not only more convenient for many people but now we know they are also more hygienic.
- Being crisis ready. For many companies who haven’t experienced a full-on crisis before this will have been a shock to the system. Supply chains cut, events dropped, employees sick or quarantined overseas. So many different elements to consider. Those organisations with well-oiled crisis management practices will be better placed to quickly communicate and reassure customers and stakeholders. For those without a plan, technology and communications channels in place this will be a baptism of fire. But there is still time to act. Most probably we are not yet through the peak of the crisis so now is the time to make sure you are prepared for any deepening of the situation.