Preparing Your Business for the New Normal
It's official. The coronavirus pandemic's biggest victim is the U.S. economy.
Despite some states' recent efforts to reopen their economies, periodic surges in infections and the lack of a marketable COVID-19 vaccine make it a virtual certainty that this will be a U-shaped (or perhaps a WWWWW-shaped) recession lasting at least the next two to three years, maybe longer.
And that's not the worst of it.
The worst of it is that when the U.S. economy finally does emerge from the pandemic, it won't look much like it did before. Structural upheavals in the economy over the last decade are being turbocharged by the pandemic, and many traditional business models and career paths are now obsolete.
Here are some of my personal predictions. May history prove me to be overly pessimistic.
We Will All Be Hypochondriacs. I used to laugh at the hand sanitizers in my local supermarket and the people who wore face masks on airplanes.
The pandemic has made us all more sensitive to (and less tolerant of) other people and their personal hygiene. When I see someone in a store who's not wearing a mask or not following the painted arrows on the floor, I call them out on it (or alert a manager). We are becoming increasingly aware -- and protective of -- our personal space.
We will still go to grocery stores but at 6 a.m. on Sunday when there's no one else there. We will avoid stores more by having things delivered to and picked up from our homes. We will avoid large crowds, maybe permanently.
We Will All Be Homebodies. I'm seeing more kids riding bicycles in my neighborhood, more grown-ups walking their dogs and more people doing home renovation projects. Something I've known for the past 25 years: Learning, working and playing remotely is much more efficient than schlepping to an office, school or theater. People are not only waking up to that; they are liking it.