The Covisd-19 pandemic has not only resulted in a global health crisis, but it has also led to an unprecedented downturn in the global economy, with some countries experiencing a downturn even worse than the Great Depression of 1929.
Not all businesses have been affected equally. For example, major online retailers like Amazon have made record profits this year. And the online casino business – see this online casino guide for more information – has also thrived as millions forced to stay at home have turned to them as a source of entertainment.
However, there have been many more losers than winners, and hundreds of millions of people have seen their livelihood threatened.
It has also had a profound impact in how entrepreneurs behave, with some ready to scale back their activities altogether, preferring to wait until the situation improves. Others though, believe that the crisis represents an opportunity, and have, perversely, doubled down on their investment in technology, people, and processes.
It has also prompted a change in behaviours like corporate decision-making. With offices closed and workers forced to stay at home, management by committee where every major corporate decision is only reached after endless meetings has had to end. Businesses now have to be far more agile and be prepared to think and act on their feet.
And that has led to a democratisation of the work force, with more decisions taken further down the line, free of the traditional layers of supervision.
At the same time there has been a need to embrace technology like never before. That may come in the simplest form, such as the use of Zoom or Skype to facilitate virtual meetings, or it may have more sophisticated applications – for example, the exponential growth in 3D printers to design and produce PPE equipment for health workers this year.
At the same time, people are beginning to embrace the concept of dematerialisation, which, in its essence is to do more with less. A primary example of this is the modern smartphone which has replaced the old-fashioned alarm clock, camera, radio, torch, and CD player all in the one device.
And whilst Covid-19 has understandably dominated the agenda of governments and many individuals within societies, the threat posed by climate change has to diminished and still needs to be addressed urgently. One of the undoubted beneficiaries of reduced travel, business activity and general human footfall this year has been the environment.
Air pollution has dropped in some cities for the first time in many years, rivers are cleaner, and some species of plant and insect life, after decades of decline, have made a recovery.
Arguably, when things get back to “normal” people will no longer be prepared to go back to how thing were before. Now businesses and individuals have seen that people can work at home just as productively as before, does it make sense for somebody to travel miles to work each day, with all the carbon footprint associated with that, just to send a bunch of emails to customers and suppliers? It is now evident they could perform the same task at home in a fraction of the time.
In some ways, Coid-19 has let the genie out of the bottle, and demonstrated that, for those willing to adapt change and look to technological solutions, there are new and better ways of doing things.
Those entrepreneurs prepared to grasp the new reality may have a very good chance of prospering in the long-term.