After 5 weeks of self isolation I’ve finally gotten a chance to think about a post Covid19 world. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that our lives, work, and society will change after this. The question is, will it be for better or worse? What follows is my stream of consciousness.
Some things will be for the better. Companies that used to not support remote work will amend or change their policies. More workers will move to remote which will have the benefit of cutting commuting costs. A good side effect will be a reduction of greenhouse gases. Of course, this will affect car sales and consumption of fossil fuels but I don’t care. They had a good run, go green.
Companies will start to question if renting all that office space makes sense. Granted, you’ll still want that Manhattan address for your corporate HQ, but do you need all that space? This will be a big cost savings for companies but a big loss for real estate holding companies. In the long run this will cut back on development in the cities. This could foster in a new wave of livable city development, which should raise values in the long run.
I’m going to speculate that strip malls in Suburbia will either close or be half empty. A lot of strip malls in my area are already suffering from low leasing. No doubt many of your favorite restaurants, local and chains, will go out of business. From what I’ve seen many have closed for good.
A big area of concern will be the erosion of privacy. There will be more monitoring, cameras, and data compilation all in the name of health and safety. This bothers me a lot. I’ve told my colleagues that the next wave of Startups will be around privacy. Some open source platforms, like Mozilla, are taking this very seriously and I am too. Your data is valuable and so is your privacy.
Another area of concern is how the 2020 elections will fold out. Covid19 is stressing the very nature of how we vote in elections. I’m all in favor for mail in ballots, that’s the way to go if you ask me. The discussion of a national healthcare system will be in the forefront after this. Covid19 exposed our weaknesses in supply chain, how we shop, and what it means to be essential.
Grocery shopping will change for me, that’s for certain. I will do more online buying and pickup going forward. It’s smart, saves time and money. I buy only what I need and limit my time in the store. You waste so much time roaming those aisle looking for something as silly as vanilla extract.
Despite what good or bad will come, the one silver lining from all this is the majority of people found focus. When the specter of death looms, people put aside a lot of their petty squabbles and choose to survive. At least that’s what I would like to believe. I know that old friends have reached out to me and I have to them. It’s reassuring in times like this to have a solid group of friends and family to tide you over to the good times.