In my past articles I have written about the great challenging times ahead of us because of the pandemic, its opportunities, and different possibilities of doing business in today’s very complex market conditions. The world is facing some extremely difficult days which could last for months, or even years. The truth is that nobody knows when will things go back to somehow normal – if they do go back to the normality of pre-pandemic days at all.
The changes in some business sectors have been dramatic. It is very sad to see that many brave entrepreneurs will not be able to make it back. But many will make a comeback. We all know to some extent that technology and the digital world are here to stay, but we never thought it was going to take that drastic turn because of Covid-19. The consequences in business of the pandemic are well known to the general public and they are probably too large and important to mention in an article. The fact remains that people are working primarily from home and seem to need less office space from where to work. The next question being will they all return to their offices? Probably not.
Will they all return to their offices? Probably not.
Furthermore, retail is not at all what it used to be. Some extremely important changes are taking place and more shops are becoming service sales points, where everything needs to be ordered and delivered a day or two after you pay for your goods. This can be boring and cumbersome to some, but let us face it: this new system is here to stay and more than one person may just order directly online and avoid going to shops. There is nothing new about this. If anything, the pandemic has sped up this new trend.
Not everything has changed. There are lots of things that need real presence of both sales people and customers. But in reality, the new trends are here to stay and not everything about them is negative. Au contraire, there are some positive points to be accounted for. If you do not have to commute from home to the office and back this will save time and money and you may get more quality working hours than you would working in an office perhaps. In addition, the companies will make some very considerable savings on office space rental. It is quite possible that large company headquarters will no longer need expensive high street addresses and may move to some modern business park in the outskirts of a large city with considerable savings. We are, without a doubt, entering a major relocation age which is here to stay.
If anything, the pandemic has sped up this new trend.
Look at Gibraltar. It is small and well organised. Everything is moving to online services whether we like it or not. And we are not talking just about the government offices. Banks and insurance companies are following suit, and more companies will join them. Universities are working primarily online. This is a fascinating change which ten years ago would have been considered science fiction at its best. The majority of banks throughout the world are working online and having meetings via telephone or video conference. And it works. Meetings are short and very much to the point. Yes, the changes are very important, but not everything is bad. There is more flexibility with timing. Speed is of paramount importance and decisions are taken there and then without wasting any unnecessary time. At the end of the day one can probably do a lot more in much less time which benefits the community in general.
We will need time to adapt to the new trends, but in the long run it will probably be good in many respects. Not all will be good and there will be people that would prefer the traditional methods. It is a little like the old Coca Cola crystal bottles which needed a bottle opener to be enjoyed on a hot sunny day. And according to connoisseurs they taste better out of a real glass bottle. But this has now been replaced to some extent by either the can or the plastic bottles. But the glass old fashion bottle is still there to be served in hotels and bars. Best of both worlds.
In the motoring industry similar things happened. You pay a very handsome figure to get a Porsche Cayenne just to find out that there is probably no spare tyre that comes with the car. Probably a repair kit with a small gas bottle to inflate a tyre so you can only just go to the garage later on. And people keep on buying them without complaint. I would not try and cross the Sahara in such conditions if I were you. Again, most serious off-road vehicles do have a proper spare tyre so the change does not apply to all vehicles.
The truth is that changes in the business world more often than not tend to make our lives easier. These changes come gradually and sometimes like now they have come overnight. The secret is to reinvent ourselves and to play the match to our advantage. There are some fascinating and challenging years yet to come.