Janét Aizenstros is the CEO of Ahava Digital, which provides corporations with ethically-sourced verified data on American consumers.
The coronavirus outbreak has changed the way we conduct our lives and businesses. Almost the whole world has been forced into lockdowns in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Amid these lockdowns, people have chosen alternative ways to carry on their work, business and a healthy lifestyle, which has launched new trends. These trends may become the new normal and stay with us, even after the virus is gone. In this article, I’ll review some of these trends and how I believe they will transform the economy and businesses.
Workplaces To Support Remote Work
The coronavirus outbreak has forced the usual workplace to support remote work, which is preferred by a majority of employees. According to a Gallup survey, 53% of employees in the U.S. said they would prefer to work from home more often, even after the restrictions are lifted. Remote work allows businesses to save a substantial amount of resources they normally would spend on running the workspace, including utilities, maintenance, rent or lease, etc. Studies show that employees may become more productive when they work from home. Plus, they can eliminate their daily commute to and from work, which can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
To gain a competitive advantage, workplaces must provide efficient distributed technology and enhanced security as remote work heavily relies on tech. They will also need to develop new policies to support remote work and assist those employees who may lack the tools, comfort and space necessary to work from home.
Businesses To Move Online
The coronavirus outbreak may substantially increase the total retail sales on e-commerce websites from 12% to a much higher number — in fact, e-commerce accounted for 33.4% of all retail sales in Britain in May 2020.
In April 2020, traditional chain stores in Canada and the U.S. saw a year-over-year increase of 80% in online sales. Other research reports that nearly half of global consumers are reluctant to return to stores even after the lockdown is lifted, indicating that online shopping is set to become the new normal.
To adjust, conventional businesses such as shopping malls will have to come up with an efficient and effective strategy to change their business model to support online shopping. Local businesses can leverage technology and big data to increase their market share and compete with overseas businesses by providing more pocket-friendly pricing.
Digital Entertainment Services To Grow
As soon as the lockdowns started, video streaming services experienced a spike in subscribers. Data indicates that Disney+ experienced an increase in traffic searches of 43.48%, HBO Go came in second with an increase in search traffic of 23.5%, and with an increase of 17.57%, Netflix ranked third. In the digital entertainment industry, people spent the most on gaming services and platforms. Video and music streaming services, news media platforms and ebook spending also increased. Online traffic also rose substantially for museums and other arts-and-culture purveyors.
In-person visits to museums, art galleries, cinemas, sports arenas and concert halls have dropped drastically as countries around the world have implemented strict lockdowns. So, in order to stay afloat, these businesses will have to come up with an effective model (if they haven’t already) that allows people to enjoy their services from the comfort of their homes.
Classes To Transfer Online
According to UNESCO, 1.37 billion students worldwide have been affected due to the closure of educational institutes. Relevant ministries quickly scrambled to enable online classes in order to prevent the students from missing a whole school year. However, online classes have received mixed results — for example, schools and students in developing countries may lack the necessary infrastructure required to support online classes. This month, Harvard announced that six of its graduate and professional schools will continue online classes for fall.
This indicates that educational institutes will increase their spending on technology infrastructure, and alternative delivery methods will be provided for traditional pedagogy and course design. Another significant transformation I believe we will see is educational institutes integrating micro-learning courses for extra credit within courses.
The online education market is expected to grow by $350 billion by 2025 if it continues to grow at the same rate, which means that educational institutes must implement a digital strategy in order to benefit from that growth and provide an enhanced learning experience for the students.
As of now, there’s no vaccine to treat the coronavirus, and some experts suggest that it may take as little as 18 months before we have one. Until then, all we can do is take preventative measures that limit the spread of the virus. These precautionary measures are already changing the way we conduct our daily lives and business, and these changes might not go away even after the pandemic ends — especially the good ones. The reality is business and life has changed in a disruptive way — we’re all going to have to learn how to adapt in order to navigate through the next few months as markets will continue to fluctuate.
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Author: Janét Aizenstros, Forbes Councils Member