Humankind is now facing a global crisis due to Coronavirus outbreak. Perhaps the biggest crisis of our generation. If the growing novel coronavirus outbreak becomes a long lasting pandemic, it could result into fundamental changes in the economy, politics and the workplace. With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases growing worldwide, business leaders are scrambling to deal with a wide variety of problems, from depressing sales and supply chains to keeping employees healthy and making sure they can continue working. Many companies are taking precautions to contain the spread by asking their employees to work from home. But down the line, the impact on future might be more severe as the impacts of such major pandemics can be felt well beyond the sheer death toll. A truly global infectious disease event like COVID-19 can be every bit as transformative for the future as a global war or economic depression.
The decisions & steps people and governments take in the next few weeks will probably shape the world for years to come. They will shape not just our healthcare systems but also our economy, politics and culture and every other aspect of human life. We must act quickly and effectively. We should also take into account the long-term consequences of our actions. We can already see the companies laying employees off resulting into growth in unemployment. When choosing between alternatives, we should ask ourselves not only how to overcome the immediate threat, but also what kind of world we will inhabit once the storm passes. After getting past this storm, we will inhabit a totally different world.
Recession is likely to Occur
Many economists suggest that recession is bound to happen considering the ongoing threats and situation in which businesses are shutting down. After the pandemic, the recession is certain to follow, which is going to threaten the efforts or way to shape the future of work. This will certainly lead to many questions like how to create good jobs, reduce poverty and redefine relationships and structures to narrow the enormous income inequality that overshadows the state’s wealth and success. Economists say it is harder to predict the bottom and how long it will take to climb back.
The coronavirus will have a silver lining if it serves as the effective for constructive changes such as way that the sudden forced reliance on telecommunication is already having an impact. There are two sides to the globalization coin. On the positive side, the cross-border flow of people, goods, money and information creates new wealth and opportunity. On the negative side, it can worsen global relations, enable international terrorism and cross-border crime and allow for the rapid spread of disease. If we see, in spite of having both positive & negative outcomes, there are more negative & worse outcomes than positive ones arising due to Coronavirus outbreak.
Impact on Future
Considering a long term impact of novel coronavirus, smaller businesses, companies or startups will be hit harder than large ones because of their limited access to credit and less cash in the bank. The chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley, Ms. Zentner quoted, “There will be a swath of small businesses that simply won’t be able to survive this crisis.” Similarly, Gabriel Mathy, an assistant professor at American University, has said, “We can see employment falling much faster than G.D.P. This will probably be the world’s first recession that starts in the service sector.” The chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard, Steven Blitz expects that the unemployment rate will rise from 3.5% in February to 10.6% by April.
As of March 6, 2020, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have all encouraged employees to work remotely where the virus has been identified. Offering remote work is an easy option for these large corporations since they have built the infrastructure to support it. Considering reports given in today’s job market, 85% of employees report a desire to work remote. Also, providing employees with the opportunity to work remotely will also allow companies to attract top talent. Due to communication platforms like Zoom, Slack, Zoho, etc., it has become really convenient to work from home. Due to this fact, some experts are predicting that remote work will increase in future also. Business travel has become crucial part of any business. When you take into account travel’s impact on global health, the workforce may not rely on travel as heavily in the future. Crisis like this has inspired innovators to create new technology for businesses. So, in future, instead of spending money on travel & stay at hotels, companies would consider alternatives such as artificial intelligence and advanced machinery to solve issues before sending employees abroad. So, it is predicted that that there will be increased reliance on technology and less on travel in future.
At the same time, we will need to work towards eliminating problems such as social and economic differences caused by globalization. If failed to do so, we might see countries turning increasingly inward with a mindset of narrow-minded nationalism. We must hope that this recession due to Coronavirus outbreak will not be as big as Great Depression of 1929.