How Did COVID-19 Show Us the Path to a More Futuristic World?

Very few industries have gone unaffected by the drastic changes that COVID-19 has laid upon the world in the past few months. Starting from shifting workplaces to shutting down vertical markets, most sectors have seen a loss in revenues, logistics, human resources, and infrastructure costs. Industry leaders have had to discontinue product lines, shut down retail stores, or send home hundreds of employees, all at an unprecedented rate. Some of the largest industries, such as manufacturing, transportation, hospitality and airlines, have been the hardest hit as the world slowly adapted to a lifestyle of social distancing and remote working.

But it should not come as a surprise.

Although six months have passed since the first known case of coronavirus went public, global cases have crossed 10 million, as of the end of June.

As scientists around the world scramble to find a vaccine to create immunity against the virus, the healthcare industry is staggering under the pressure of providing treatment across countries. The world is teetering under the uncertainty of a future that cannot be predicted, while putting the utmost effort to get everything back to how it used to be.

But what if the future is already here, and by learning valuable lessons throughout a life-altering pandemic, we can best adapt to the new ways an economy could run, with the help of the technological tools at our disposal?

What if rather than attempting to go back to the all-familiar ways, we can embrace the change, challenge the adversity, and find a way to turn the situation in our favour?

One of the most crucial and innovative ways to ensure businesses keep running, at a profit, is to introduce and diligently implement a culture of remote office spaces, wherever applicable. Till now, the concept of work-from-home or sharing coworking spaces has been mostly associated with freelancing. Despite the prevalence of multiple innovative software solutions in the market, the world has been slow to cut down costs spent on office spaces, and shift to a virtual collaborative platform.

However, due to long-drawn lockdown measures, this shift has been more or less imposed upon most companies, globally. And more often than not, companies have risen to this challenge spectacularly.

With the help of online collaboration tools, teams can now communicate, schedule and host meetings, complete planning sessions, delegate and distribute tasks, and track the team’s work progress, from anywhere in the world.

Adopting a virtual collaborative work policy can also help companies prepare for taking their businesses offshore and enhance their presence internationally. A perfect balance of an onsite and offsite team, with costs and resources allocated in such a way that will nurture the talents and young leaders of tomorrow, can shape the legacy of an organisation. At the same time, an offshore-onshore mix can also mean there is a contingency plan for any kind of sudden paradigm shift, keeping the profits steady and losses at the minimum.

As a GEMBA graduate, one of the things the programme gave us was access to new methods in the field of self-reflection, problem-solving and synergistic working.

Each of the students was challenged to leave their comfort zone and forced to tackle issues and ideas from unusual perspectives. On a macro level, this has helped me strengthen my position as a Partner and as the Chief Operating Officer at the tech and innovation start-up that I joined after graduation. This pandemic has thrown this fact into sharp relief: that the world should gradually, and then ultimately completely, digitalise the operations and management structure in all major industries.

Coming from a perspective where I have personally helped in the growth and expansion of a startup that specialises in conceptualising and implementing digital transformation projects globally, I believe the world is very much ready to tackle this change. The prevalence and use of virtual collaboration tools can only accelerate the rate of this change and pave the way for a futuristic and virtual world.