Life After Lockdown Will Not Be All Doom and Gloom

The United Nations, after a period of uncertainty and prevarication, eventually declared that a novel corona virus which caused unusual illnesses and death in the Wuhan Province in China, had actually become a global health pandemic.

Only a few people initially understood the implications of this declaration until we began to see the impact of the situation. Reductions in regional travel. Governments imposing restrictions on movements of its citizens. Expansion of travel bans to larger lockdowns. The entire country of Italy placing all its citizens under quarantine. Other countries followed suit. International air travel ground to a screeching halt. Billions of human beings were restricted to their homes by their own governments in countries all across the world. Naturally, markets followed suit. Every major bourse plunged to global depression levels. Previously unforeseen scenarios rolled out before our very eyes. The price of oil, for the first time in history, dropped below zero. 

The free press responded accordingly with proclamations of the actualization of apocalyptic prophesy that could be summarized as: Sorry, folks. We didn’t realize it at first, but THE END has finally come. Indeed, current indicators bear them out. Global trade has ground to a halt. Economic variables in every country demonstrate utter devastation: zero aggregate exports, monumental unemployment claims, humongous foreclosure figures, sub-zero consumer confidence, monstrous bankruptcy levels, miniscule manufacturing numbers, and on, and on.

Many lives have been lost. Many people have lost jobs, businesses and even loved ones. Numerous patients with unrelated health conditions cannot gain access to normal care because of the disruption in the health sector. A lot of people in the developing world who are reliant on daily sales from subsistence trading face starvation for themselves and their families because of the pandemic. 

However, despite the obvious devastation, I will be so bold as to suggest that the prognosis for the future is not entirely dire, and I have a few thoughts regarding the post pandemic outlook, especially from the perspective of labour and talent:

1.   The fundamentals of the world economy are still solid. The single commodity that was withdrawn because of the pandemic is labour. Supply and demand of goods and services are still strong, but remain latent due to a temporary halt in production on the supply side, and a correspondingly temporary halt in wages on the demand side. This will be switched back on quite rapidly post-lockdown. Let us be very clear. Very many companies will go bankrupt and never recover. However, there are many alternatives waiting in the wings to snap up the demand. For example, let us bear in mind that Amazon recruited hundreds of thousands of workers during this pandemic

7.   The gig economy will soar. Many companies will realize that pay-per-use makes more sense than in-house capacity. Imagine you have a profitable delivery company with a staff strength of 30, and you realize that you have high-impact compliance needs, legal needs, risk concerns, and financial reporting requirements, but not necessarily every day. Do you really need a Head of Compliance, Head Legal, Head Risk and CFO given your scale? You will suddenly find you can access these services at world-class quality, and at a fraction of the full cost. On the supply side are the companies who will offer these services per use, and create value at scale. You will begin to wonder why you were not using them all along

Indeed, there is a whole new world out there post-Lockdown and it is there for the taking. The pandemic has shaken the entire global order and exposed numerous vulnerabilities. However, with vulnerabilities come opportunities. This is certainly not the end. The onus is on both business decision-makers and members of the workforce to learn from crises and create new paradigms.

Now is the time to seize the day.

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