Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work published a special report that considers how COVID-19 could change the world of work, education, health, shopping, entertainment and more.
“We imagined what would it be like if we were in 2025 and then looking back at what happened in the aftermath of the virus,” said Benjamin Pring, director of the Center for the Future of Work. “In that way of stretching your imagination, it gives you a different perspective. It offers a different way of looking at things, getting beyond the short-term panic and thinking about how we separate the changes that will become permanent from the short-term changes that will revert back to normal.”
A few highlights include:
Business Travel Loses its Cool: Is business travel the engine of commerce that we thought it was? Will virtual meeting and event alternatives, along with the environmental benefits of less air travel, lead to new habits around business travel.
The Birth of the Clean Regime: While workers may not be clamoring to get back into the office, it is clear that people want to quickly return to social spaces – parks, cafes, gyms, movie theatres, etc. As venues reopen, cleanliness is more important than ever, both in terms of combating the virus and strengthening consumer confidence to reenter these spaces. “This might be a complete shift in our perspective on the world. There is going to be a commercial opportunity around that. If conspicuous cleanliness is suddenly chic and cool, then there is going to be money to be made riding that wave.”
Online’s Big Bang: In the future, will solutions that were considered digital alternatives become the new norm. Up until the virus, technology played more of a supporting role in the delivery of education and health care. After the virus, digital solutions will play a much more central role. “What we are going to see in the next five years is that everything that can go online is going to go online,” Pring said.
Everyone’s Home is Their Castle: Will converted bedrooms and garages make way for more substantial, dedicated working space. Before the crisis, about 5 percent of Americans regularly work from home. During the COVID-19 crisis, a far greater number, perhaps 80 percent of knowledge workers worked from home regularly and there was not a massive hit to productivity. Coming out of the crisis, Pring estimated that 20-25 percent of knowledge workers may shift to working from home most of the time. “I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to go into physical offices when we need to do something that really requires that face-to-face interaction,” Pring said. “But the idea that people will regularly do that, Monday through Friday from nine to five, to do work that they could so just as easily at home will become less common.”