When all of this is over, will your life return to normal? Will you revert to your default settings and slip effortlessly back into the pre-virus habits that shaped your everyday? Will you view the world the way you always did, before COVID-19 turned things upside down?
Cynics say our memories are short. That all the promises we have made to ourselves in recent weeks about becoming a more caring and resourceful society will fall by the wayside as soon as countries re-open for business.
But if you ask me, people won’t forget that easily.
I’m looking forward to grabbing coffee in an actual coffee shop and feeling the buzz of city life as much as the next person, but I’m facing the near future with my eyes wide open. Think about it: when the lockdown is lifted and we get the green light to go about our everyday lives, are you going to jump straight on a plane, brushing shoulders with the guy next to you as you take your seat?
Are you going to feel comfortable stepping into a crowded elevator or dining in the confines of (your favorite) busy restaurant on a Friday night? Probably not.
Stick to new-found pastimes
And just as some habits will be hard to return to, other things will be hard to give up. Almost overnight, we became chefs and bakers – so much so, flour has become hot stuff. When the lockdown is lifted, will we all hang up our aprons, or will we realize that our newfound hobbies are in fact the source of a whole new kind of satisfaction?
Then there’s the face mask. In the West, wearing a surgical mask in the street would have met uneasy glances from passersby not too long ago. Now, donning a mask has become the new norm and a coveted accessory in short supply - such is the demand. Once all this is over, separating man from mask could be a challenge.
Whether it’s face masks or cake baking, research tells us that it takes 30 days to build a new habit, so there’s a very real possibility that the activities, interests and behaviors that you have incubated since coronavirus forced you underground now represent the “new you”.
Make remote a default setting
But life under COVID-19 isn’t just changing people, it’s changing how we work and altering the priorities of companies large and small. Coronavirus has landed businesses in uncharted, unprecedented and unpredictable territory, making a return to normal a near-impossible ask.
With entire economies on hold, companies have been left with no option but to slash pay and let people go in order to keep their heads above water. Meanwhile, those employees who have managed to cling onto their jobs are forced to carry out their work from home, adding to a displaced workforce that, through no fault of its own, is wholly unprepared for remote life.
But make no mistake, remote working is no temporary measure... it is here to stay. Companies that fail to make the shift towards a remote platform will rapidly find themselves left behind and losing valued employees.
Don't lose sight of this
What corporate leaders need now more than anything, is a way to help their employees to become more productive, wherever they happen to be. And, with people still grappling with their new remote realities and workforces downsizing by the day, the need for productivity growth is greater than ever.
Fortunately, while economies sleep, companies like enaible are firing up their AI engines and devising productivity solutions for the post-virus world. By deploying AI-fueled technologies, companies can measure, compare and ultimately improve the productivity of their people, whether they’re in the office, at home, or in a café (remember those days?)
I was recently asked why organizations should prioritize productivity right now, and my answer is this: they have no other option. Productivity drives profits, which drives employment – it’s a simple as that. COVID-19 has changed many things in life, but that’s one reality that remains firmly the same.
- Tommy Weir is CEO of enaible: AI-powered leadership, and author of "Leadership Dubai Style". Contact him at email@example.com.