“Wake me up when September ends” are the words to the popular Green Day song. Its meaning could easily be applied to the current world health situation. As I run in the morning, the deserted streets give me the feeling that people are sleeping longer, unmotivated to go through another day of isolation and uncertainty. I’m grateful that I long ago established this daily habit of getting up and moving, but I do wish that this crisis was over. The invisible enemy seems impossible to contain. I recently watched a video likening the virus to peanut butter, sticking to everything you touch and difficult to remove. How do you stop something you can’t see!
I listen to the radio when I run, another long-time habit resulting from my time in the business. It’s a way to stay connected wherever you are, employing creative ways to keep you entertained. The industry is adapting to the Corona outbreak by allowing personalities to do their shows from home. It isn’t exactly studio quality, but remote engineering and cellular technology has come a long way in the last decade. Like everyone else, advertisers panicked and pulled their spots, but now they’re starting to return with new messages. For any business, it’s important to stay top-of-mind with consumers and relate to their challenges. No contact delivery, on-line shopping, keeping healthy, curbside service, and cleanliness are key buzz-words. It’s hard to imagine how much more the economy would suffer in this crisis without access to The Web. In the computerized society of today, businesses can still function and jobs can be protected because people can safely stay home but still shop.
It may very well be September before things start to return to “normal.” However, that normal will become a new era in doing business. More people will work from home in the future, as business will rely less on costly office space. Many lessons will be learned about how to manage the work force during this challenge. In the process, there will be less commuting, resolving many of the problems with traffic and air quality. Also, suburban living will expand further from the major cities as employees have the flexibility to work from anywhere. Teleconferencing will reduce corporate travel expenses and countries will strive to be more self-sufficient. Worldwide trade and corporate chains will suffer as loyalties turn to buying local. This scare will accelerate all these trends, as our sleepy nations start to “wake-up” once this nightmare leads to the next one.