There is a lot of nervousness in circulation regarding to the future and the actions taken today will determine how each company does re-emerge. It will require, just as was the case after the 2008/9 crash, carefully considered strategies which will include investing in human capital to enabling a growth in innovation and entrepreneurship and by embracing digitalisation to a far higher level.
There is a strong argument that all this will see greater service levels emerge, job creation, rising productivity for the first time in a decade and stronger confidence in the workplace. If 2008 created a negative environment in workplaces, then 2021 could see the start of a reversal but only if the groundwork is in place. Often economies do bounce back strongly after recessions so there is a path of evidence to support the above. However, as has been written many times, there will be new jobs emerge and many talents and companies will decline and fall. One report estimated that we will see over 40% new jobs by 2030; that is almost a revolution in change which will test all.
The really interesting question is whether we know how the consumer has changed? Many will have adapted their behaviours and spends during the pandemic. Online grocery shopping has naturally increased and is probably here to stay but how will this impact on the High Street? It is estimated that close to 50% of grocery sales will now be delivered to homes by 2022.
Many have invested higher levels into their homes to adapt for home working and have little intention of returning back to the old ways of life. There are increased levels of new services offered online across all markets, from medical consultation through to clothes buying. In France, the state health system reported 1.2 million virtual consultations in September 2020, compared to 40,000 in February 2020.
Other key trends expected include:
- Work-life balance in work environments and well being to become of higher priority.
- Mental health support to grow within companies
- New digital services to emerge within companies to improve communication and support
- Greater, improved levels of hospitality service and customer service
Change is naturally coming and it will demand new ideas and thinking. The challenge for companies is that many returning employees do not believe that their companies have real plans prepared. Maybe this is understandable as the future is so uncertain but the one truth is the business world in city centres will never simply go back to as it was.