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How Covid may change our lives?

Every so often in history, we face a global crisis that makes us rethink the whole humankind and its destiny, the truly important things and the priorities in life. This global crisis is just another among many of them in the past, just like the world wars, the great depressions or the plagues, and may not be the end of the world, but it could be the end of the world as we know it, the end of an era, maybe the end of the globalisation process as a profit vehicle for a consumer society... I don't know, but it will certainly mark a before and after 2020.

It is interesting to note that this virus is affecting not only the health of the world population but also the way we socialise with each other, the local and global economies, the environment in which we live, our relationship with nature, our value system and spiritual beliefs. A tiny molecule can change everything and suddenly we think about death, about God and about our families and friends, we recognise ourselves in others and we realise that we are all in this together.

We suddenly understand that we are not invincible, that we are vulnerable and life is fragile. We realise that we are not isolated individuals running a race to accumulate goods, but we are social animals interdependent with each other, capable to empathise and feel compassion for the pain of others. And finally all this shall pass and after a couple of tough years we will go back to “normal” again. But it will not be the same, it is up to us to make this crisis an opportunity to grow inside, to evolve as a society, to learn and to imagine a new beginning to make a better world for the generations to come...

In my opinion, this point in history will represent a paradigm shift towards a more humane, austere, conscious and healthy way of life. People will really start working more from home, eating better (less meat) and doing more physical activities (free time) and that is going to improve the ecosystems and the social system in general. We will spend more time with our families and productivity may improve in some industries, but might also affect severely to others producing some social issues. Some governments might have to consider a basic universal income to avoid a major economic crisis (mass unemployment,poverty, hunger, depression) and more job flexibility policies, in sectors such as, retail, manufacturing, accommodation and food services, among others. However these benefits may cause other issues in the long term, such as debt, inflation, lack of working force, etc.

Online and delivery services will thrive and small businesses will have to reduce operational costs and increase online efforts to survive and clear differentiation and segmentation would be key. Big and medium-sized organisations based on knowledge and information might also reduce operational costs by cutting real estate and office expenses and letting executives work remotely. New ways of collaboration between the public and the private sector, or even between different industries and organisations, might be necessary to minimise mass unemployment.

All of these public and private efforts to keep the local economies afloat will means that the global markets would be severely affected, at least for a couple of years. Countries and organisations will tend to concentrate locally to reduce their costs, find new suppliers and implementing austerity programs (pay cuts), in order to support their communities and local businesses. However after the global health and financial crisis, a bounce efect may create an over demand, affecting supply and increasing the prices of some goods and services. A new balance will be required with more strict international policies, which may slower the supply affecting specially the trading, travel and tourism industry recovery.

Transport and supply chain would be a great challenge and we may have to produce and consume more locally (within regional areas), due to increasing expenses, new health policies and the transportation risks. The hospitality and tourism industry may be negatively affected in the long term, due to the travel industry crisis (lower supply and demand and price increase...), but the businesses capable of making a real difference in their communities will prosper. Companies will need to be very clear about their culture, vision, mission and values because this will now make a huge difference in the market place and community engagement will be a key factor in this equation.

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