Almost five months ago, a devastating new virus stopped. Since then, we have all spent a great deal of time trying to get used to the radical change in lifestyle that COVID19 has brought us. Now, we are starting to think about the reopening in some cities and what life, business and work will be like after the pandemic.
COVID19 will forever change the way we live, work and consume. Researching several articles and international and national studies, we found that the virus broke the resistance or accelerated some trends that were already on the rise, such as digital transformation, conscious consumption and the home office and brings us some insights about the future.
The trends that we present below constitute the analysis of what we believe will shape business in the new normal after COVID19:
1. Work and study at home
The pandemic brought the highest percentage of workers in history to the home office. While parents work, children study on the Internet, raising the standard of digital traffic to levels never seen before.
Employers and schools have had to be flexible in how they respond to the needs of employees and students through more dynamic and cloud-based technologies. Thousands of people had to learn quickly how to use tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and other remote work applications, which will continue in many activities after the pandemic.
For example, in the activity of recruiting and selecting people, preliminary interviews can be carried out remotely and in bulk, through videoconference, as well as in the area of contracting suppliers. Likewise, many work meetings could optionally be held remotely, as they proved to be much more objective during the pandemic. Videoconferencing and corporate distance training will multiply even more.
In the USA, a Labor Census survey found that 30% of workers are qualified for remote work. Another Gartner survey of more than 200 CFO’s from major corporations in the U.S. states that they plan to relocate 20% of their workforce to the home office permanently after the pandemic. Which would favor 44% of American workers who also prefer the home office, according to a study by The Cambridge Group. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has already decided that most of his employees will be able to work from home by 2021.
Many schools also realized that part of their courses can be given virtually, at a distance, bringing new pedagogical possibilities and democratization of teaching. For example, the offer of distance learning courses in higher education grew by 50% in 2018.
2. Less density and space reduction
In addition to the density caused by the home office, especially in the service sector, the experience of COVID19 also affected the concern with health safety in the workplace. This will require, among other actions, greater physical distance between professionals. Will it be the end of the tight stalls?
Here we have an ambiguous question to be solved: at the same time that we will need more space in the workstations, we may have fewer people in the professional environment. Therefore, less demand for physical space.
However, companies that serve the public, the more popular, will need to have more space for the customer, as there will be a need for social distance between them.
Thus, many facilities and businesses are expected to quickly remodel their layouts to suit the new value proposition and business models of the new normal. Scale, which used to be an advantageous competitive asset, may increasingly be a risk. Large, expensive and useless spaces will tend to disappear.
Coworking services, a growing model before the pandemic, will also fit into these adaptations. According to Bloomberg, We Work, for example, has closed more than 100 buildings in China and is undergoing restructuring in several regions.
Likewise, business models traditionally based on economies of scale such as the aviation, hospitality and even higher education sectors, where the profit resulted from the occupation of spaces, will need to review their business strategies, from the use of assets, economies of scale and rationalization for a more compact world – a trend that creates synergy with the inclination towards the need for sustainable consumption and other trends.
3. Increased cloud and digital migration
The acceleration of digital transformation is perhaps the biggest trend in the post-pandemic. The companies that will survive will have been the ones that quickly moved into the digital environment before and during the pandemic.
The review of processes and computerization were the first wave of the transformation of organizations to the virtual world. Now, the use of cloud spaces, big data, data science, interconnectivity and information security, that is, the complete digital transformation of the business, will be decisive for survival in the future.
According to Inova Consulting, the pandemic has dramatically intensified connectivity and the technological revolution, known as Infotech. We started doing everything through the Internet and social networks. Digital mobility will grow more than physical mobility going forward, breaking all borders, further boosting the 4th. Industrial Revolution.
It is transforming business dynamics, the scientific world, value and supply chains, education and training, people’s well-being and entertainment. According to the consultancy, before the middle of this decade, the internet will be available to all inhabitants of the planet.
Online sales will also intensify the growth of digitalized payment and delivery, including robotized. Chinese e-commerce giants, for example, are already accelerating the development of robot deliveries and Amazon using drones.
In the first half of this year, online sales increased 65.7% compared to 2019, according An exemplary solidarity action during the pandemic was carried out , in partnership with SEBRAE, which launched PARTNER MAGALU, a digital sales platform to help micro and small retailers and freelancers to maintain their businesses in the marketplace environment and earn income during the crisis.
4. Every organization will be, in some way, digital
People have never used digital so much. Birthdays, happy hours and virtual weddings have created a new normal for celebration. Therapies, physiotherapies, courses and various services could be transformed by digital media. Customers will choose this more in the future.
According to Michael Hendrix, partner and global design director at Ideo, “the virus looks like an accelerator of digital change that was already underway. . . the surprise was to see the resistance to this digital change suddenly evaporate. What organizations have endured for a decade is now essential to survival and innovation. It is exciting, because this digital mindset will persist and it is highly unlikely that companies will try to get back to what worked before the pandemic ”.
The pandemic will not end physical stores. But they will never be the same again.
Small businesses that historically rely on pedestrian traffic as their main source of income are expected to develop alternative revenue streams if they are to keep consumers in the post-pandemic.
For example, many restaurants can permanently connect with delivery service platforms or expand their geographic reach through virtual kitchens, and pharmacies can have an online presence that goes beyond their local neighborhoods through WhatsApp.
According to a SEBRAE survey in June, 13% of micro and small companies quickly adapted during the pandemic, adding to the 47% of companies that already had electronic sales channels through social networks, applications and the internet.
5. More humanized connections and the family first
Who has never faced an exotic or funny situation in a virtual meeting? You are there talking, and suddenly, your dog appears. Or on the other side, a little girl appears next to her interlocutor, saying: “mommy?”
In this pandemic, we cross the line of what is acceptable and what is not in professional etiquette. But we ended up laughing, identifying ourselves and joining even more with the situation. These intimate moments generate deeper and more meaningful connections between us as human beings.
Why can’t it always be this way, whether with colleagues, customers, investors and suppliers?
We will certainly leave this pandemic more humanized in our relations and corporate ethics will no longer accept coldness, impersonality, staging or lack of authenticity.
Companies that had social responsibility practices and made social investments and corporate philanthropy during COVID19, in an authentic and spontaneous way, made their customers loyal and remained present in the communities during the solidarity crisis. These brands were de facto citizens and created humanized connections.
Perhaps never before have human beings and families been so valued as in this pandemic. For example, the solidarity movement “Não Demita” was supported by 4 thousand companies, such as Bradesco, Vivo, Boticário and Magalu. Until May, he avoided the layoff of 2 million people until May.
There was greater solidarity, humanism and social awareness – behaviors that will intensify in the post-pandemic.
Daily, solidarity and corporate philanthropy were featured on the nightly newscasts of Rede Globo and CNN, reporting the practices of countless companies that endeavored to produce and donate gel alcohol, masks, food and their own products to hospitals and communities.
“One of the legacies of the pandemic is that the future of the human being is the human being,” said Luiz Rasquilha, from Inova Consulting.
6. More investments in corporate sustainability
The Planet has never been so green as it was in this pandemic. Nairobi’s children finally managed to see the top of Kilimanjaro on the horizon and turtles and dolphins appeared on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. We could see that it is possible to change the way we live, work, produce and consume. Perhaps we can reverse the planetary crisis and invest heavily in renewable energy.
According to Melinda Gates, “We have to do more than just overcome the virus, for us to really recover from this pandemic, we have to fix everything that is broken”.
In cities that are reopening, such as those in Europe, there is already a concern with the remodeling of the way people move, of social distance and of physical spaces. Sharing rides, bicycles and scooters will tend to replace cars in central areas.
According to Credit Suisse, one of the six investment megatrends is “climate change – decarbonization of the economy”. Many companies, including traditional ones, are producing vegetable meats and benefiting from these investments. This year it is estimated that the global CO2 emission will drop by up to 7%.
7. Changes in logistics and flexibility in the Supply Chain
With the blockade of borders, the issue of transportation dramatically impacted global logistics during the crisis.
The pattern of several decades of global outsourcing of the supply chain of several Western companies to manufacture their original inputs and parts in Asia, for reasons of cheap costs, ended up breaking countless companies during the pandemic due to lack of transportation and closing of several companies. To prevent these risks in the future, companies and governments must have their suppliers closer to home. Thus, the trend should be towards regional or national allocation of production hubs or plans for greater operational resilience.
For example, when it comes to respirators for COVID19, totally unprepared to supply the shortage via local production. Totally dependent on importing components or complete products from Asia, it ended up losing international competition to supply the quantity it needed.
8. Glocalization and rupture in the traditional manufacturing model
We are, therefore, talking about a rupture in the traditional model of centralized factories with cheap labor on the other side of the world.
The post-pandemic factory model is, more than ever, that of Industry 4.0, where it is controlled by software that coordinates intelligent robots to customize customer orders and manufacture, with a localized delivery system of suppliers, in small or medium. physical facilities, the desired good.
In short, factories, manufacturing and supply chains will require a much more resilient model through nearshoring and even onshoring, complete automation and software-based management.
Technologies such as Big Data, Cloud Computing, IoT and Blockchain are building more resilient supply chains for the future, enabling data accuracy and encouraging information sharing. Imagine, for example, a respirator being produced in one place and physically printed in another thanks to 3D printing.
This trend was well supported in the interview given by the renowned sociologist Jeremy Rifkin, author of “O Fim dos Empregos” to Revista Telos, in April: “Globalization is over, we must think in terms of glocalization. This is the crisis of our civilization, but we cannot continue thinking about globalization as we do today, as global solutions are needed to develop energy, communication, transport and logistics infrastructures… ”
9. Encapsulation and increased consumer awareness
The term cocooning was coined by marketing consultant Faith Popcorn in her book “The Popcorn Report” (2006), a bestseller with 16 megatrends, which started with the prediction that people would live more at home at the beginning of this century. COVID19 rescued this trend of entanglement.
Shopping in street supermarkets and restaurants has plummeted by up to two-thirds in major global centers. Now that some cities in the northern hemisphere are reopening, there are already some trends in consumer habits. A survey by Hunter in the US in May showed that 54% of Americans are cooking more than before the pandemic. With people eating more at home, trips to restaurants will decrease.
According to a McKinsey survey conducted in May, consumers also began to rethink their consumption habits. Two thirds of consumers find it more important than before to limit climate change impacts and about 60% are making significant lifestyle changes to reduce the impact on the environment. The survey reveals that consumers often rethink how sustainability should be incorporated into the brand and business value proposition and what the purpose of companies is in their decisions.
It also suggests an increase in brand infidelity, with up to 40% buying new brands. In Europe, among consumers of GenZ and Millenials, 50% are buying products cheaper than before the crisis. People will tend to buy more and more of the essential rather than the superfluous.
The search for essential and most needed products should continue in the post pandemic. The new normal should be “consumption without excess”, an expression used by stylist Letícia Gonzaga in a recent interview.
10. Appreciation of what really matters
Greg McKeown’s proposal, in his bestseller “Essentialism: The disciplined search for less” seems to have been written with a view to post-pandemic life. One of the things that we may all agree on is that the world will never be the same after this crisis.
COVID19 caused a forced rupture in humanity and gave us no option. It imposed a “pause” on the entire planet and made all human beings think of only one thing: their survival. It revealed our fragility.
Thus, it forced deep reflection on CEOs, workers, citizens and politicians. About our way of living, working, producing and consuming.
In full quarantine, a fact that seemed normal (the death of a black citizen by a police officer in the United States) took millions of people to the streets for several days in dozens of cities around the world to protest, even at the risk of becoming infected. Outrage over lack of respect for others and anti-racism spread quickly, like the virus. In the post-pandemic, society will accept less disrespect and inequality.
As businessman Nizan Guanaes said in a recent interview with CNN, “Each of us has to be a statesman, let go of the side that we believe in to help us as a human race.” He celebrates the utopia and hope of new leaders, as he suggests at another time.
According to McKinsey’s research, “profound changes in values and mentalities are defining new behaviors”, among them: affective (re) connections, consumer awareness and the planet and society in the first place.
Recent approaches are consolidated, such as conscious capitalism, values-based management, search for purpose and meaning in organizations, which will certainly be valued even more in business in the post-pandemic.
Probably, many are bringing their teams together and reevaluating their strategies, values and behavior right now. Recalling or rediscussing the purpose of their organizations. But one thing is certain: after this pandemic passes, we will see each other with a different look!