Trade fairs, congresses, sales: nothing will ever be the same again. Or will it? A study conducted by the Contact-Center-Network has identified some important consequences of the coronavirus pandemic: 70 per cent of those questioned would like to reduce their business travel. Events will suffer in particular.
Not only does shopping have to be faster, more personal and more exciting, it also has to be more sustainable and profitable. Ordering, trying it on, returning. This pattern is repeated far too often in Germany. To be exact: 487 million times.
Effectively dealing with the pandemic and mitigating the adverse effects of the economic shutdown is quite a challenge for leading companies: they have to cope with high financial losses while providing support for others.
The last few months have shown how leading companies successfully and sometimes less successfully face up to their social responsibility, how partners, customers and users of the social web can react to it and which do’s and don’ts of crisis management can be derived from it.
It is already clear now that there will be changes and innovations in everyday working life in the future. Flexible working hours, working from home and switching to digital business models are options that many companies had already integrated into their business before COVID-19. However, these innovations will be less of an option and more of a prerequisite in the future of modern companies.
It is thus recommended to think about the future today and to deal with the question of what the everyday working life will look like after the pandemic and what this means for employees. To take a look into the future, the IT service provider Tata Consultancy Services has recently proposed a number of central theses that define an outlook for the times to come.
For centuries, access to education was a question of gender and origin: women have only been allowed to study since 1908. Even today, it is still true that those who come from a wealthy, academic background are far more likely to obtain a PhD. To put it differently: only one in every 100 first-time students gets a PhD.
Rarely have two successive forecasts been so different: in December 2019, the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research predicted that the German economy would continue to grow in 2020 – by 1.1 per cent! This made sense because the world barely knew about the coronavirus in December 2019. It is due to its massive spread and the necessary shutdown measures in large parts of Europe that the mid-March 2020 forecast of the Munich-based institute was completely different: the institute predicted an economic slump of a whopping 9.8 per cent in the second quarter and an overall contraction of the German economy of 1.5 per cent in the current calendar year. Recession definitely is the economic word of the hour.
Despite these figures, new things seem to be created, especially in the retail industry that has been hit particularly badly by the crisis: the situation makes people creative and new cooperations as well as exciting business models are emerging.
The Corona crisis forces us to react to new circumstances in a flexible and agile way. Because many things are simply no longer possible given the current situation, we have to come up with new solutions. And of course, the first thought that comes to mind is often »How is this supposed to work out?« or »This cannot be digitally mapped«. However, the experiences we have had over the past few weeks have shown us that it is very well possible to find solutions for the new circumstances – because if we have to act, our creativity and flexibility will not let us down.
We use collaboration tools for working from home and holding meetings is no problem at all thanks to video conferencing. Events that had to be cancelled in the last few weeks and will probably have to be cancelled in the months to come have been hit particularly badly by the crisis and the omnipresent contact restrictions. This means that event organisers are also forced to find and implement new solutions, for example turning offline events into online events.
Prof. Drosten is pleased. The chief virologist of the Charité Hospital in Berlin, who has become a media star with his daily podcast on NDR Info and thanks to whom hundreds of thousands of laypeople are suddenly talking about viral envelopes, PCR tests and antibody serums, recently made the following observation: the isolation is effective.
It seems that the infection rate can be flattened thanks to strict measures, such as those imposed by Jena, the first major city to make face masks mandatory in supermarkets and public buildings. Through many tests and voluntary physical distancing between people, the lethality rate among those infected with the coronavirus in Germany might be contained. To formulate it in slightly exaggerating terms: couch potatoes save lives!
However, the word »potato« already contains the current challenge: even couch potatoes have to eat. This is where food delivery services come into play. Because those who want to stay at home right now and do not have any neighbours who would kindly buy groceries for them type »food delivery« into a search engine – and just like that, they end up in the so-called e-food industry.
At the beginning of March, a friend of mine who works in a Parisian design office posted on social media: »Salut, mes chers, je passe au télétravail!« She was asked to leave her open-plan office due to the coronavirus. Télétravail is the French word for something for which we do not have a proper German word in German: we call it home office whereas real native speakers would rather describe it as »working from home« or »remote work«.
The word component »tele« is not even French but ancient Greek. It means far away. The French thus work discretely from far away these days. At least conceptually, they do not let themselves be nailed to any place in times of curfews (sorry, I mean contact bans) when they are not working from their office.
No matter whether they are working from far away, from home or via mobile devices: while the world is standing still to flatten an infection curve, the global working world is in fact changing rapidly. But what was the so-called New Work all about before the coronavirus? Why can such impulses lead to great benefits, in particular for many companies that now believe they are sliding into a crisis?
For years, artificial intelligence has been increasingly influencing our everyday life, but also the economy, politics and science – as chatbots in customer service, GPS assistants or characters in video games.
AI can be used in many different ways and offers us new innovative solutions to problems in the most diverse areas. However, deepfakes show that AI also offers potential for controversy.