Sep 01, 2020 (IAM Newswire via COMTEX) -- Not long ago, an interesting study came out of the U.K's Guardian. Despite the country’s difficult battle to contain the spread of COVID-19, only 12% of respondents wanted to return to the “old normal” that we had before this blockbuster spring of 2020. This study confirms the world is embracing the idea of a “new normal” we keep hearing about. While the definition of this new term is still up in the air, it is certain that some things are here for the long-haul.
Here are four things that will likely be embodied in our new normal.
The majority of leaders most likely never envisioned managing their employees online. Many people probably thought this was not even possible. With the power of Microsoft (NAS:MSFT) Teams and Zoom Video Communications (NAS:ZM) , we realized that people can be as productive at home as they are at work. Maybe even more considering we have removed many distractions from our eight hours workday, such as the toll that the daily commute takes on people's ability to function at their optimal capacity.
Back in March, Microsoft saw a 775% increase in the usage of its Cloud services, with Teams counting 44 million users on a daily basis that had spent 900 million in online meetings on a weekly basis. During the pandemic, Netscope reported that more than 58% of knowledge workers in North America shifted their thinking and showed they are flexible enough to adapt.
It is not at all unlikely that companies will consider a long-term remote working plan or at least a combination of office/remote work. Renting large offices is expensive, as well as their corresponding utility bills so this can also be a significant source of cost savings.
Pressure to innovate
Master chocolatier Lindt & Sprungli AG (OTC:LDSVF) was planning to launch its e-commerce platform in 2021. Due to being at risk of significant revenue reduction due to store closures, the online store was launched in only five days. In order to save their businesses, brands have responded more quickly than they perhaps ever thought possible. Another example of this speed has been shown by Zoom which had some much-publicized security issues. But it did not stop it from exponentially expanding its daily userbase from 10 million to 200 million. Moreover, it gained a hero status overnight as it has enabled businesses to keep the pace with these unprecedented times.
Now we know businesses can perform at "Flash Gordon" speed.
Touchless interfaces - giving brands an identity in a sanitary manner
Once the surfaces we touch became 'dangerous', businesses started looking for touchless solutions that are more sanitary. One such solution is voice technology and it is in the perfect state of development to be applied at such a large scale.
Voice assistants such as Apple's (NAS:AAPL) Siri and Amazon's (NAS:AMZN) Alexa have gained an entirely new dimension with social distancing. Gartner predicts that by next year, one quarter of the workforce will use these voice-activated virtual assistants on a daily basis as opposed to last year’s 2%.
Even before the pandemic, many companies were looking for ways to enhance their brand value by giving it a sound signature. One example is BMW (OTC:BMWYY) which hired Hans Zimmer to compose a sound for its electric vehicle concept, the i4 sedan.
Redefining CSR and actually taking action
There were always plenty of reasons to be a socially responsible business. Back in 2017, The Unilever Group (NYS:UL) found that one third of consumers opt for brands that do good for the environment and the society. These days, nine in 10 millennials are willing to switch to a brand that complements their moral values.
The pandemic emphasized that being socially responsible is just the right thing to do. This time around, the wave was strong enough that it caused big names such as The Coca-Cola Company (NYS:KO) and CVS Health Corporation (NYS:CVS) to pause their ads from Facebook (NAS:FB) as part of the "Stop Hate for Profit" campaign. Although this boycott didn't hurt the powerful social media giant that much, the message is clear. The Guardian study even found that many are willing to pay higher taxes for a fairer and nicer society.
We are now creating a new normal. The past several months have proven that many of us are adaptable and agile. The pandemic allowed us to tap into skills we never knew we had as well as 'stop and smell the roses', both of which can enhance both our productivity and quality of life simultaneously. Business leaders have a lot to think about as their businesses have a duty to help create a new society. A society that people want and need now more than ever.
The worst phrase you can say these days is: "We've always done it that way". The way ahead is: "Unlearn. Relearn. Undo. Redo." With some luck and by actually learning some important lessons so we can emerge wiser from this crisis, the new normal could be our best normal yet.
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