The Covid-19 pandemic has granted climate activist Greta Thunberg one of her biggest wishes – the global airline industry has nosedived and is unlikely to ever fully recover. Travel bans have brought many airlines to the brink of bankruptcy, and even when the crisis subsides, both business and leisure travellers will think twice about flying, particularly overseas.
This is only one example of the disruption that drastic measures to fight the disease have unleashed on the economic and social framework of the world as we know it. It will take at least 18 months before an effective vaccine against the virus is rolled out, and during that period many of the behaviour changes foisted on businesses and individuals will stick.
The most pervasive shift will be the result of social distancing – there will be less face-to-face interactions at work, and in every recreational and social activity. Working from home will become far more common than it is already, and employers will reassess the need for business travel. Many conferences will become webinars and much training will take place online.
“People are going to find that they don’t need to be in the building to be able to accomplish certain things. Organisations will probably also learn that not everybody needs to be in the meeting room for something to be decided or a piece of work to be done,” says Barry Vorster, head of technology and culture practices for human resources at PwC.
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2 April 2020