Businesses have had to quickly adapt to the spread of COVID-19 by enforcing new policies — most popularly, allowing work-from-home. Some may have taken these as merely temporary in the hopes of the world going back to normalcy soon. However, despite our best wishes and scientists’ best efforts, vaccines might not completely eradicate the virus yet. Because of this, the only way forward is to adapt to the long-lasting trends and legacies the pandemic has left us. That being said, here are some aspects the world will have to adjust to for the foreseeable future.
According to a study by Statista, only 17% of U.S. employees have worked remotely at least five days a week before the pandemic, but this has increased to 44% by April 2020. However, rather than say that COVID-19 has caused this change, the reality is that the virus has merely accelerated the shift to remote work. And this trend of working from home will likely remain. Global companies like Facebook and Adobe, for example, are adopting more long-term remote work set-ups.
Amid all the sectors that have had to make major adjustments, there’s one industry that has effortlessly thrived: the home furniture market. After all, with so many professionals working from home, it’s only right to make personal spaces as conducive to productivity as possible. In this regard, there has been an upward trend of consumers turning to ergonomic furniture. After all, makeshift setups at home can cause back, shoulder, and wrist pains. Ergonomic chairs help you improve your posture while still being comfortable — effectively minimizing long-term damage to your body. On the other hand, to counter muscle stiffness, standing desks have become another popular solution. This nifty tool allows users to switch between sitting and standing, thus promoting some physical activity — which can be hard to get when you’re just hunched over at a table all day. Indeed, remote work has broken down the traditional office’s four walls for good — and it’s up to professionals to keep up.
As we know, the pandemic has disrupted economic activity and caused world trade to fall by 13-32%. The expected recovery in 2021 depends on how long the outbreak lasts and how effective the policy responses of different countries are. Policies on social distancing and restriction of movement directly affects labor supply, transport, and travel. Now, there are two distinct possible trajectories for the future of trade: a pessimistic one that involves a steeper decline and a more prolonged and incomplete recovery, and a relatively optimistic one that predicts a sharp drop followed by a recovery in the second half of 2021.
Despite being in a challenging and uncertain situation, trade is still important as it helps supply essentials such as medical supplies and food. Fortunately, there are a few actions that can be taken in order to assist economic recovery. The first, and most important, would be to improve transparency to boost confidence in trade and global markets. A shared information base can help support different countries’ policy responses by providing them with up-to-date information on market developments and policies of other countries. It’s also important to keep supply chains running — especially for essential goods, such as medical supplies, food, and ICT goods and services.
The UN has adapted to a world of virtual meetings, and this opens opportunities to improve the efficiency of its business. However, critical matters might get blurred without present experts and physical meetings to give them context. If the UN relies only on transmitted information with no discussion or consideration, the understanding of the material may be greatly reduced. But aside from how diplomacy is done within the UN, the role of the organization itself is being challenged with regard to how it can respond to the global health crisis. For one, first-world countries should assist other nations in combating the virus — and, if possible, also help them in economic recovery. This assistance can also strengthen communication and lead to a mutual cooperation between and among countries involved.
The pandemic has suddenly thrown our world into an unknown and unpredictable situation. However, with some time, effort, and teamwork, we should all be able to adapt to the new world.
Feature specially contributed to businessline.global
Contributed by: JBratcher