post COVID-19 trends

By: Gary C. Bizzo, IRIS

At the moment, we all know how COVID-19 is affecting our daily lives. Social distancing, impossible travel conditions and much more. Have you considered what is in store for us after the virus?

Our society will attempt normality, but many things will be forever affected that we used to take for granted.

10 Post COVID-19 Trends to Watch

1. Banknotes

I can’t remember the last time I had cold, hard cash in my hands. No one is taking cash. Liquor stores and carry-outs all want plastic. I think physical tender will be gradually weaned out of the system and replaced by digital or plastic options.

2. Big Pharma

When the stock market is fell daily, my wife was buying up pharmaceutical stock at great prices. I also suspect many industries that are crucial to our normal life will find their way back to North America.

3. Remote working

My wife recently retired from the largest transportation system in Vancouver, and they were adamant about her working from home. A recent study said employers save about $22,000 on average by having an employee work from home. It’s common sense to me. You save cubicle space, downtime from random illnesses circulating the office and the employee is a lot happier. In Vancouver, I already know of several technology companies with dozens of employees who don’t have a brick and mortar office and never had one.

4. Telemedicine

Have you ever had a mole, blister, mark on your leg that you knew was nothing but thought the doctor should look at it? Now, imagine being able to hook up to the doctor’s telemedicine account and show him that odd-looking thing on your body from the comfort of your home?

COVID-19 has made us consider the option of a doctor putting a morning aside once a week for visits by Skype. With 5G, it will be a no brainer. Think of the time saved, the safety and how the doctor can see more people efficiently.

5. Homeschooling

Has been around forever. It has become very sophisticated in some jurisdictions, and we will see more of it. I believe education in the traditional classroom has become a warehouse for children and a necessary evil for working parents.

In a similar vein, online training platforms like UdemyCoursera and Thinkific have shown user increases in the past couple of years, but I anticipate they will soar after this epidemic.

6. Price gouging

This heinous practice during times when resources are scarce should be on the same level as looting during Martial Law. The first time I saw it happen in Vancouver, being an entrepreneur, I thought, ahh, an opportunist, but quickly changed my tune when I saw how egregious they were acting. Policies need to be in place to thwart this behavior.

7. Cruising

I don’t know about you but if I saw a “special” on a cruise for summer 2021, I might pass it up. I feel like I am in an incubator for disease on my Vancouver rapid transit, and cruise ships are on the same level in their ability to spike epidemics.

8. Nursing homes

A lot of people already feel nursing homes are simply a storage facility for the elderly. They certainly have been the focus of most of the outbreaks of disease over the years. Lump them together with cruise ships and planes. Once you’re there, you are at the mercy of the facility that you blindly trust with your life and those of your loved ones. What systems can they put into place to assure the safety of your family?

9. Take-out

So, there has been a robust increase in the ability to buy food from diverse outlets in the past couple of years. Many restaurateurs who want to stay in business are offering delivery via platforms like GrubHub and Uber Eats. Will this continue when the virus is quenched? I think it will. Once a restaurant has a system in place, why not continue to provide a new service and revenue stream?

10. Healthier online viewing

We still spend way too much time looking at our phones for content. Book reading, a more relaxed pastime, won’t be for everyone, but I wager that lifestyles will change. Don’t the experts say that it only takes 21 days to make a habit?

A few more observations

  • Government needs to be seen as leaders rather than obstacles to our way of life.

  • What can one say about the media? Remember when TV had programming all day and the news was at 6pm and 11pm? Now it is all opinion dressed up as “news.” I see news once again becoming more factual than opinion. The public has shown that, especially in a crisis, they want expertise, not hacks with their opinions.

  • The supply chain has been outstanding. I have no idea how manufacturers can keep up with this manipulated demand for everything. Kudos to all those men and women who manage the supply of goods. Now, if we can work on the bottleneck at the customer end.

  • Standardized crisis management seems like a logical way to keep a large population safe, but, like keeping a country’s infrastructure up-to-date, it is difficult. I think this pandemic has proven once and for all that proactive thinking must be done to save lives.

I’ve heard that once this pandemic subsides, that the world will live in harmony, warring factions will embrace and forgive and politics won’t be the same. Sure, in a perfect world!

Let’s hope that some trends will make our countries better places to live for everyone. The rest will sort itself out.


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