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Life during and after COVID-19 – setting yourself up for success

Wilhelm Crous - Tuesday, May 05, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis is too big to plan for in itself, and it is too complex to predict exactly what will happen next. What we know for sure is that the virus will eventually wear itself out, if we don’t find a vaccine first. But that could take anything up to three years, and between now and then we need to find a way to balance the medical crisis and the economic crisis. 

Most countries in the world have instituted some form of lockdown of their citizens, but there is now quite a lot of variation in how they’re continuing these lockdowns and easing out of it. We can learn from what these countries are doing, and what is likely to happen in our own. 

The best way for your organisation to deal with this is to have a sober view of the various scenarios for the next 6 to 18 months, including best and worst case views. Futurist and CEO of TomorrowToday Global, Graeme Codrington, offers some insights into what you can expect (and how you should respond) in the next few weeks, months and years…

What to expect during Covid-19

The world was not entirely unprepared for a global pandemic of Covid-19’s scale. An unprecedented event such as this has been worked into analysts’ future predictions for the past 10-15 years – alongside an asteroid strike amongst others! Epidemiologists too have been modelling this situation for a very long time which resulted in many countries following a similar response pattern of lockdown. Sweden and the UK were amongst countries that decided to not lockdown early, and they have seen a significant increase in cases of both infection and death in recent weeks. 

But what is the fundamental aim of this lockdown? It is not to find a cure, sadly. It is to help the healthcare system to ready itself for the expected rise in infections and hospitalisations. What this means in terms of lockdown is that it can only end when we know that our healthcare systems are not going to be overwhelmed by dealing with the disease. The flip side of this is that we cannot keep the economy closed for an extended period of time. And so lockdown will need to end before we can be sure the disease in manageable. 

Because of this need for balance, the end of lockdown does not mean that life and the world of business can simply return to normal. Instead, governments must slowly begin to lower restrictions that were put in place and this can take up to several months. What does this mean for businesses? It means that all employees returning at to work once is not a feasible route to take. Physical distancing still needs to be considered, meaning that a traditional office space may not be fit for purpose for some time. 

This is also true for many industries, from restaurants to airlines. Most significantly, schools are unlikely to be able to return to normal anytime during 2020. In an attempt to complete the curriculum in this academic year, especially for years with high stakes assessments, schools will likely phase back in over a period of months. But this will leave many children at home and needing parental support for their schooling. This is likely to be one of the biggest HR issues for the next year. 

What to expect after COVID-19

The crisis period of 2020 cannot be considered as merely a blip – it is a once in a lifetime, re-alignment of the way we do almost everything. Instead we will need to adjust to and harness the benefits of the new normal. 

Perhaps your business had not implemented a working from home policy until the start of the pandemic, but we are now living through the greatest experiment in the future of work that has ever been conducted. And what if it works? What if the impact of the experiment has irreparably changed attitudes towards the traditional working environment forever?

Another factor to consider is the differing rates at which countries are coming out of the lockdown period and the impact that will have on global trade. At the time of writing, China is beginning to reopen its factories and is effectively open for business. Meanwhile, the United States is only now going into a proper lockdown – meaning it will take them longer to recover. As other countries also emerge from lockdown, they will be looking for supplies and trading partners – providing a rare opportunity to change global supply chains and reset economies.

Leaders must prepare for the rise of a new normal across the board from the biggest levels of global politics and power plays, to the individual levels of where people choose to work and how they set their work-life balance.

How can businesses set themselves up for success?

The first step to take, in the aftermath of lockdown, is to work with your team to assess how things could change across the next year, 18 months or even the next 3 years by looking at:

  • Global politics and economics – borders and trade and macroeconomics 
  • Your country – will it become more nationalistic or more globalised for example?
  • Your industry – the future of the way your business functions and the services you provide
We now have the opportunity to truly reimagine our world - there is a moment of reset coming and while that reset might not happen quickly, asking yourself the right questions now, in order to achieve future success is vital.

Join us on 9 June 2020 from 14h00 to 16h00, for a future glimpse into how the world will change during and after COVID-19. Futurist and CEO of TomorrowToday Global, Graeme Codrington, will guide you through various scenarios to help you prepare for the next few weeks, months and years. He’ll also show you how to inspire and motivate your team to see the world through the eyes of opportunity. Join us – here.

And don't forget, our newest release: Managing Organisations During the COVID-19 Vortex offers numerous guidelines (from scenario-planning to economic, social and political forecasts and more!) to help executives deal with their most pressing challenges. And you become a member of our new KR Online Library, you’ll be able to read this book for free (and get access to another 250 other titles!). You can learn more about the KR Online Library – here.





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