Trend forecaster and author Lucie Greene discussed the consequences of Covid-19 for business and the workplace with a panel at a recent forum. Here are some of the conclusions
At the Virtual Fast Forward Forum, my fellow speakers and I discussed the emerging trends coming out of COVID19, and how trends might shape business and the future workplace.
How can businesses successfully adapt? There many variables depending on how long we are living in lockdown, but some of the key trends are:
Originally seen as a luxury, remote working will now be an essential and mandate part of business. CEO of VBites, philanthropist and investor Heather Mills says, “employers are finding out whether staff are delivering from home. If they are, they won’t need them to come back into the office environment.”
COVID is going to increase the collective sense of anxiety that we have – something we saw pre-pandemic. The anxiety economy was already booming with wellbeing, fitness and health gadgets – even gadgets which monitor our air quality – and these enhance our fear of the world. This sense of anxiety will only increase post COVID19.
If businesses are going to survive in the post-COVID world they will need to look at innovative new ways to run. A lot of businesses won’t be able to go straight back to how they were and will need to adapt. Business influencer and world-renowned storyteller Carla Johnson says, “Leaders know that they can’t continue what they’ve done in the past. The whole dynamic of how we do business in this environment is different. What worked in the past, won’t work going forward. This is an opportunity for innovation. Businesses need to look at how they start to rethink their processes.”
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Cindy Gallop founded the social sex revolution platform MakeLoveNotPorn and is a worldwide advertising guru. In New York where she lives, she has noticed an increasing disparity between those who are still consuming and those we are now desperately trying to survive. “The ability to spend and the ability to consume is now non-existent for very large amounts of the population. This is true for the UK, Europe and the US – the pandemic has both exacerbated and demonstrated income equality like nothing else.”
Existing trends accelerating
COVID seems to have accelerated some of the societal and business trends we were already seeing before the pandemic – especially when it comes to things like the death of traditional media and the consolidation of big tech power.
We could see a new conscious kind of consumer who focuses on wellbeing and sustainability. We might also see a hedonistic and fatalistic reaction and a ‘yolo’ (you only live once) attitude when we are allowed to socialise again.
The new consumer
The post-COVID19 consumer could look very different. We could see a new conscious kind of consumer who focuses on wellbeing and sustainability. We might also see a hedonistic and fatalistic reaction and a ‘yolo’ (you only live once) attitude when we are allowed to socialise again.Carla remains optimistic about what business and responsibility might look like after COVID19. “Those purpose-driven brands that weren’t made a priority before, or were maybe on the fence, will really rise to the top.”
Heather says, “We’ve become such a greedy superficial world. A lot of us will become better people – but some of us will remain the ignorant people we are and continue as we were before.”
Its clear businesses will have to adapt hugely and we will see a big shift in business and workplace culture. Whether its catering to a new kind of consumer, setting up online or reaching into a new market – businesses will have to innovate and adapt in order to survive post-COVID.
This Article is based on discussion in the society panel at the Virtual Fast Forward Forum 2020.