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The Pandemic - A Trend Analysis - Issue #1 - Work from Home

This is the most obvious change. The pandemic forced companies, with little notice, to allow their employees to work from home. Issues that were created, and ad hoc solutions:

  1. Digital Meetings and digital collaboration. Powerful connectivity tools that have existed will grow exponentially, or be replaced by newer versions that better suit this new work environment. Zoom has benefited (even though their stock value has not), but new competitors will appear with potentially better tools, better pricing, and other benefits. Collaboration tools have been average at best, but the marketplace and market size for these tools has just exponentially increased, which should lead to new products, and better products.
  2. Cyber Security Issues. As Zoom taught everyone, online meetings are fraught with confidentiality issues. There will be new opportunities for home cyber security companies, and enterprise level solutions.
  3. Privacy Issues. Anyone can record a meeting, and share without companies being aware. How can this be prevented?
  4. Lack of Home Office Space. Watching the news, Good Morning America, or other news shows permitted glimpses inside people’s homes. And made us realize many people do not have a dedicated home office. What trends will appear as the need for home offices grow?
  5. Home D├ęcor. See #4. Who helped design these people’s homes? All kidding aside, as digital meetings allow co-workers to “peek” inside the personal lives of people, will this force people to create a more attractive home office?
  6. Meetings in Restaurants. If people are working from home, will the lunch meeting disappear? Will this benefit restaurants in the suburbs?
  7. Human Resources Oversight/Organization Structure. Will the traditional work hierarchy disappear? How will HR manage employees? Will employees blame injuries that occur at home as work related (this already is happening)? As comical as it seems, will this resolve some of the sexual harassment issues as people will have less contact during the day? Fundamentally, will the HR position undergo major changes?
  8. Work Efficiency/Oversight. Obviously, a manager cannot watch people working from home. Will there be a trend in performance-based evaluation (not hours worked)?
  9. Child Care and Dog Care. Simply stated, dogs will love you more, and children may drive you crazy. But the dog walking business model will change, and may become non-existent. The child-care business model may dramatically change, or thrive because people will NEED to leave their children somewhere so they can work. This will be an interesting trend to watch. The good news is cats will not care one way or the other.
  10. Automobile and Fuel Industry. No more rush hours? No one-hour commutes? No need for monthly parking leases? Cleaner air due to less driving? How will this new trend affect these various industries? Who will benefit, and who will suffer?
  11. Dinner, and eating at home. Will people’s eating habits change? Having the freedom to eat lunch at home will create the opportunity to eat healthier, or eat what ever you want. Plus, it will create the opportunity to cook meals at home while you work, and again prepare healthier, or not so healthy meals. Will dinnertime be less hectic, and lead to a more peaceful home existence?
  12. Gyms, Yoga Studios, and Home Gyms. Will work-out habits change? Will people make more time, or less time to get exercise. Will gyms and yoga studios suffer or thrive?
  13. Baker’s Dozen-Divorce Rates. Will couples working from home lead to an increase or decrease in divorce rates? Couples will be around each other, and the best traits and worst traits of each will come to the forefront. How this will affect marriage counseling, and divorces will be determined. Good thing it is hot outside; windows being closed may prevent overhearing embarrassing conversations.
Next Article The Pandemic - A Trend Analysis - Issue# 2 - What's retail going to look like?
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