Hopefully in the not too distant future we may all slowly emerge from our isolated caves, blinking slowly as our eyes adjust to world around us, taking deep breaths of clean, virus free air, listening attentively to the sound of birds calling in the morning…….and then hot footing it as fast as our legs will carry us to the nearest barbers before anyone notices we’re sporting that Pat Sharp hairstyle or Brian Blessed beard. It may be something you can disguise on video calls, like a shirt and trackie bottoms combo, but out in the real world there is no hiding place!
The world will surely look a very different place when we start returning to ‘normality’ to face up to the lasting socio-economic realities of the post-coronavirus world. The question is what could the most prominent outcomes of this be?
Politics has gone all topsy-turvy
It’s fair to say, politics has turned on its head in just 6 weeks! Austerity was over (apparently), we were disentangling from the EU and trying to work out how to mend a sorely divided country. Who’d have expected the first strongly positioned conservative government for a decade to suddenly be embracing a ‘socialist’ strategy of state intervention, whilst in the background the ‘evangelical’ radicals of left were quietly relinquishing the reins of control of labour party back to moderates.
Over the pond, we’re witnessing a similar turn around. Trump seemed on course for an easy return to the White House, but after a pretty dismal showing during this crisis, even strident Trump supporters must be having doubts. In just a few weeks of home schooling my kids, I can confidently say that even a 6 year old could give President Trump some tips to widen his vocabulary to sound less moronic in his utterances! I can direct the President to a few freely accessible websites where you can get simple lists of adjectives and adverbs enabling him to better describe events and scenarios, rather than rating everything as either beautiful or horrendous! I am hopeful the US public will have seen enough to free the world of the poisonous force currently occupying the oval office in November. Surely……please!!
So strange have these turn around’s been, I probably wouldn’t even bat an eye lid if I heard Nigel Farage became the new leader of the Lib Dems on a re-join the EU platform!
What can we expect next?
A reversal of economic thinking?
The message of last financial crisis was to start living within our means. I have a suspicion we may almost be encouraged to start living outside of our means now. To be clear, I’m no economist. My economist brother will heartily testify to this after trying to help we with my Economics A-Level back in the day! So, I really can’t offer up much here, but to say my feeling is that for many businesses, survival may depend on people’s willingness to spend money where prudence may otherwise advise the opposite.
The last financial crash talked about ‘being in it together’, but that never really rang true. This time though, this would seem a more authentic assessment, whether it’s to support a local restaurant, or volunteer expertise or support to those in need – people seem more willing to help others than ever. This could be a grass roots grow your own recovery, but the harsh economic realities will probably only really come to the fore once the virus is on the way out.
Who will be the employers and brands of choice?
I dare say many will look at the good old Times Top 100 company lists (or equivalent) and ponder – does that brand really appeal? The dual nature of this health and economic crisis will weed out the the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to authenticity of employer brand. Has your company been a little overzealous with its furlough decisions? Did your business respond by instantly abandoning its ‘minions’, rather than looking at fat cat salaries? Did your business try to profiteer (and by that I don’t mean simply profit) from this horrendous situation?
How has your business addressed the challenges of the day to ‘look after’ its employees, and how will it adapt the new world order?
Executive pay, employer brand, flexibility of working practices – these could all be key items on the HR agenda to secure employee and consumer loyalty.
…..and the wilder possibilities
From each fire there comes a phoenix soaring from the flames. Here are just a few ideas of what could happen.
- A reduction in unproductive time in irrelevant meetings. Or at least becoming effective multi-taskers to appear engaged in a video meeting whilst also doing your Ocado shop!
- A return of ‘The Good Life’. The nation taking to growing their own food to avoid going to the supermarket or struggling with their on-line orders.
- The adoption of social distancing to create more space on the tube. If not 2 metres, how about a luxurious 2 inches?
- A new generation of little Lionel’s are being incubated in our back gardens and could transform the fortunes of the England football team in years to come. Social distancing could bring an unexpected side effect as kids spending hour after hour honing close control skills and resisting the ‘English’ instinct to hoofing it up field (or over the fence). The world record for keepy uppy’s is surely going to go!
- Lawn seed sales will go through the roof as a nation tries in vain to resuscitate gardens that resemble the Wimbledon Centre Court service line in August rather than the lush green of spring.
- The development of new Zoom Junior and Zoom Senior tools.
- A rise in home schooling….NO CHANCE
What surprises do you think the future holds?
I’m off to the Funhouse where rumour has it GORDON’S ALIVE!