If current trends continue (fingers crossed) it won’t be long before coronavirus is under control and the lockdown is behind us. That’s not to say life will snap back to how we remember. Far from it.
For starters, hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the UK have discovered the joys of working from home for the first time. It’s going to be difficult tearing them away from flexible hours, sunny garden chairs and no commute, all to force them back into a drab office.
On the other hands, there are just as many who have been cramped up in a too-small home, lacking human contact and without access to important tools. Some are eager to get back to a lively and energetic workplace.
Which presents the question: How will the modern workplace look? Full of people? Half-full? Empty but for key staff? How will communication look, how will tasks happen, what will the effect be on relationships, creativity and productivity?
While we’re picturing a new normality: will handshakes ever return? Right now, few people want to go skin-to-skin with someone who may or may not be carrying a potentially deadly virus. But how low will coronavirus levels need to fall before people are happy to shake hands again? How long before they can do so without hesitation?
Many among us never enjoyed shaking hands in the first place. Or pressing buttons, or handling cash… They’re the ones who notice how many people leave public bathrooms without having first washed their hands.
Is it only the handshake that’s in jeopardy? It could be that we’re soon all advised to wear gloves. And possibly masks, too. Can we imagine a world in which most people’s faces are covered all but before their eyes? What an unfriendly and dystopian picture that paints. But maybe that’s what will be required to keep us all safe.
All of this is, of course, as yet unknown. But it’s certainly going to be interesting to see these questions answered over time.
What you can do
Scout out new opportunities
If the world is different, and everyday life is different, then customers will have new wants and needs. Some products will rise in demand (masks being a prominent current example) others may be consigned to history, and others we don’t yet know exist will be invented. Your job, as an entrepreneur, is to monitor and predict trends in order to be in the best possible position to service new demand, while not wasting resources attempting to serve markets that are no longer profitable.
Adapt to a changing world
You can’t afford to assume that your business will return to normal given enough time. If the way we live our lives changes then it follows that the way we will do business, and the way we shop will change, too. That may mean new ways of working with suppliers, new ways of marketing your goods, and new ways of communicating with your audience. Be sure to keep your finger on the pulse or risk being outpaced by more agile competitors.