The last 24 plus months have sent individuals and businesses for cover like never before.
While each of us had to adapt to extreme and unfathomable circumstances, at least not as you would expect in the world of current times, it has also shown us how vulnerable we all are when faced with such circumstances.
The pandemic continues and so does the good fight!
While we may have become more amenable to live with it, it still rages on. With our feeble attempts at normalcy, perhaps 2022 will be that year of transition. We are finally looking at the future with hopes of shaping it than just being neck-deep in the current fight.
We can say for sure that times will be divided as pre and post covid.
There is no going back to the world as we knew it in 2019 and before. The new world we step into is so different.
The new normal will be what we have to grow accustomed to and start our journey with the hope for a new future going forward.
The modern world and economies thrive on trade and business. Consumer confidence is what will get us there, and when that confidence returns we move closer to a more normal world.
When the focus is not on getting through the present, there will be hope and anticipation for the future. From that anticipation flow ideas and plans for a better future which lets the wheels of the economy start turning and then, run smoothly. Travel will be more commonplace. Optimism allows for adventure and dreams, for exploration and experiences. Leisure travel will flourish when there’s more confidence in business travel as well.
But, with the changes we have seen in leading remote lives and businesses, there is bound to be a shift in how many and how soon people go back into offices. Work as we know it has seen a change of more permanence. Hybrid and remote work is here to stay.
With risk and threat, was also the advent of opportunity.
There has been a flurry of new businesses that were born out of necessity, innovation, and the growth of digitization. Telehealth has accelerated its maturity journey and so have biopharma and remote work management. Yes, the pandemic has been devastating for small businesses. While many have been lost, new models of business have come up and thrived. Jobs have been lost and new learning opportunities for jobs of the future have opened up.
Technology and digital productivity have taken center stage.
With challenges, there were also opportunities and breakthroughs for work continuation. Pace and productivity increased despite the challenges, thanks to technology and its acceptance.
The organizational transformation was accepted, not as a choice but as a necessity to survive.
New technologies and processes evolved and managed to stay and were accepted. This led to rapid and monumental work transformation which resulted in job retention and growth for many. Omnichannel business models are the way of the future.
Supply chain disruptions did occur and led to some catastrophic situations across borders leading to inflation and scarcity of commodities. It opened the world’s eyes to dependence on each other and forced self-reliant measures on behalf of many countries.
Healthcare and biopharma took center stage due to the need for vaccinations and their rapid rollout across the world. The pace and scale at which this was done are unheard of to date. Breakthroughs such as mRNA technology happened under duress, but for the benefit of mankind, opening up new opportunities to combat other life-threatening diseases.
Investment dollars were still hard at work, based on the future outlook as well as the need to make a difference now.
Stock markets were on a roller coaster ride and rode up faster than they slid down due to the availability of investment capital on the part of businesses, and individuals. Of course, there was new money being printed all the time and offered up by the government to support both industry and individuals.
With the world stalled and indoors for months, the environment took a breather.
The effects and costs of pollution and the need for environmental sustainability became visible very quickly.
The faults within our governance, healthcare, and money management became starkly clear.
While we struggled with the lack of healthcare infrastructure the world over, we had to make do with makeshift hospitals, minimal resources and ended up losing millions of lives.
Healthcare system reform is key across the world.
Modernization and infrastructure development and deployment are the need of the hour. Public healthcare systems need an upgrade and remote access to telehealth and virtual health are a must to get care to the remotest corners of the world. Employers need to build healthier work environments and invest in their employees’ health.
Every government has taken to immediate and rapid fiscal response to the crisis in many ways, printing money and eventually raising debt. While it was the need of the hour to do so, to ensure there was economic and humanitarian aid deployed on time, it will be a long and painful journey to pay it all back.
Businesses too have shown that they are not just about profit generation, but also about caring for the society and individuals who work with them or who they serve.
The social economy has come of age.
While at the doorstep of the new normal of the post covid era, let us pray and hope that the foundation of a new tomorrow is laid right.