No handshakes, no gatherings, no outings, no school. Our world is unrecognizable. COVID–19 has disrupted every aspect of our work, life, and society. We are in crisis mode as we react to the pandemic and try to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. We still don’t know how this will end, but we do know that the world that emerges post-virus will look and feel incredibly different.
As COVID-19 takes the world into unknown territory, crucial questions are arising: Will everyone work from home in the future? Will robots and AI become more popular? Will the gig economy be wiped away, or remain the only port in a global storm? Will our faith in capitalism be weakened by the stress test faced by economies around the world? What’s going to happen to data privacy when more data is shared in the name of security and safety? To answer these, and other, personal and commercial questions, Cognizant’s Center for the Future of work has released a special report: After the Virus. In this report, we have outlined nine predictions that we believe will reshape the future of business, work, and society.
- Online’s Big Bang: COVID-19 will digitize the world at light speed. Everything that can move online, will move online. Huge infrastructure investments will be required to handle millions of remote employees and/or customers.
- Everyone's Home is Their Castle. Houses will be retrofitted with dedicated home office spaces as working from home becomes the norm, not the exception.
- Business Travel Loses its Cool: Business travel will become a last resort. We expect the flygskam or flight shaming movement to go global.
- Health Screening will be Widespread: When you leave the house, you may be subject to “OK2GO” scans on entering other buildings. Just as the TSA was formed in the U.S. after 9/11, a Health Security Agency will be formed.
- Gaia and Greta Go Mainstream: The environmental agenda will gather momentum as the virus is identified by many as the planet’s scream for help.
- Humans in the Machine: Online interactive dinner parties, concerts, and political rallies will become common and “real” versions wither in a world where humans recognize they can live inside the machine.
- The Birth of the Clean Regime. We will realize just how dirty (metaphorically and literally) the Earth has become. If cleanliness is next to godliness, then this Clean Regime was an answered prayer.
- The Cost of Aging in a Post-Pandemic World. Shifting healthcare budgets from treatment to prevention will become the existential challenge. As the world’s population ages, Gerontechnology will emerge as a new field of study aimed at helping the older population age safely and comfortably at home.
- Privacy: Another Casualty of the Virus. The long-term implications of a permanent surveillance infrastructure are becoming apparent for governments as they recognize that personal data will become a new source of economic wealth.
Strange times require strange thinking. Our world must now be viewed through a completely different lens. Every business, individual, government, and society will find new meaning to its relevance in this upside-down world. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This is no time to be timid.
Our hope is that reading this special report will arm you with the thinking you need to move forward, and help you find the positive, future mindset that will lead to success. There is no reason we can’t thrive, even in these new, unprecedented times. It’s your chance to build a future full of hope, confidence, and optimism. Please share this report with others you feel may benefit, and together we can move forward from our uncertain today to a more positive tomorrow.