It has been a year since the first COVID cases in Canada and ten months since the restriction began. While some areas of the country are improving, many are not and it is looking that it will be with us for a while longer.
While COVID may leave us, there will be lasting changes to our way of life, both personal and work. Many businesses, where possible, have their employees working from home. While this works for some, others not so much. It is much like the ‘open-office’ craze of the 1970’s where Extraverts were happy and the Introverts had issues.
I remember the pushback from employers a few years ago to employees working from home. Managers felt production would go down and they would have difficulty controlling the work although leaders felt otherwise. The reality is, many workplaces will continue with this model after COVID is gone because it works for them although it may be a hybrid model in order to be effective for the majority. It will also be dependent on the type of business.
This brings on other repercussions. Will we still need the amount of office space we currently have on hand? Some businesses will see it as an opportunity to lower their overhead by reducing their footprint. The impact in some cases will likely result in the repurposing of some of the office space, perhaps to residential.
In the larger communities, there may be a drop in ridership as commuters are not going to the offices. This may affect the financial viability on some routes. I am sure that the volumes of fuel sold is down from a year ago as well affecting the transit taxes. What will be the long-term effect of this?
Many have been dragged kicking and screaming into a technical world they now embrace. We didn’t know what Zoom was a year ago, and Facetime is now our link to our children and grandchildren. While this may decrease when we get face to face again, I am sure the usage will remain high. I recently ‘attended’ a virtual 3-day conference in Australia on Zoom, and it worked so well that, even if they can have it in person next year, it will also be on Zoom. Rotary and other group meetings and events are using Zoom. One of the benefits is the ability to have guest speakers from anywhere in the world. That is useful and will likely continue.
This is just a glimpse of what our ‘new normal’ might be and it is just the tip of the iceberg. I think we are in for an exciting ride!