All of us owe our well-being to the selfless service of health workers and all other essential staff who are working tirelessly 24×7. Please take a moment to thank them whole-heartedly.
COVID-19 has shaken up the spirits of the world leadership. From confidence and constant denial, it dragged the world’s think-tank to the dungeons of abject submission and pointless mudslinging.
But, the spirit of the general public largely remained positive. People began to innovate and find ways to get their foot on the ground during these tough times. Hawkers, small vendors, educational organisations, companies, everyone showed tremendous resolve to fight the situation and find a workaround.
And, this spirit has encouraged people to accelerate few otherwise slow-moving concepts into the top gear. I think some would remain with us forever owing to their commercial viability and general feasibility. Here are my thoughts.
Moviemakers, much before the outbreak, have been mulling over the idea of releasing their movies directly on VOD or OTT platforms. For, a vast majority of indie movies or small-budget films seldom get a proper window of a decent theatrical release. Right from getting their films released in significant theatres to grabbing an adequate number of screens, it is always an uphill task for small movies. OTT platforms take away a lot of those hassles. Besides, the filmmakers get an assurance that a good number of movie-lovers could watch their film.
As of today, the number of such direct-to-home releases is still minuscule. But that could change. The social stigma associated with watching a movie in a theatre could stay with us for a long time even after the virus is done and dusted. And it means lesser footfall to the theatres. I guess this could make moviemakers plan to release their movies directly on VOD or OTT platforms. It could happen with movies of all kinds of budgets. Who knows, we might watch the next Avengers movie in our homes.
We might also see OTT platforms attach a small fee during the first week of a movie’s release. It would help the moviemakers in cashing in on the craze. Or there could be a mixed release based on the geographies – like a movie releases on OTT in a country and theatres in others.
The music event “One World: Together at home” attracted an audience of 20.7 million viewers across the globe. All watched from the cosy confines of their drawing rooms. Of course, it was on TV.
But, a lot of musicians have been making use of streaming platforms to entertain their fans during the lockdown. And, there has been massive chatter on social media platforms about these ‘live’ concerts. Some of the music producers are making rapid strides in this direction already. And, why not, it saves a lot of money on various things like logistics, venue management, TV rights and so on. All that you need is a decent studio setup, and then the social media platforms can handle the streaming! A lot of money saved, and some innovation would ensure a lot more made. It would be a boon for a lot of small-timers.
So, we would see more and more musical concerts streamed to our homes directly from a pro setup or a home studio rather than from a stadium or a concert hall.
Micro-farming and Nano-farming are two areas where I see significant changes happening, towards good, in the coming months across the globe.
World Food Programme, a division of the United Nations, feeds millions of people on any given day. And they depend on the aid from advanced economies. Now with all the major economies getting affected by the pandemic, the assistance to WFP could come down significantly. It can lead to starvation of enormous scale across the globe.
I think it is the right time to put some thought in place and sustainably fix the crisis. Some organisations are already working on it, but I think more people would enter the foray. In my opinion, companies would invest in building micro and nano farming kits or processes that people can readily use in their conditions. Such solutions can help pockets of communities in handling the food crisis.
Not just in crisis-hit areas, these kits would have demand in urban areas of developed as well as developing countries. The thought of clean and safe vegetables from one’s kitchen garden gives people a sense of confidence concerning health.
3. Operating Styles of offices
Working From Home
COVID19 has taught a lot of companies newer lessons about the concept of Working from Home. A lot have realised that it could be done with job profiles that were thought to be WFH unfriendly. Monitoring tools, remote servers, higher home-internet speeds, collaboration tools, group-meeting tools have given a lot of companies a chance to look deep into the aspect of Working From Home.
More and more companies would soon realise that they could cut down on office-maintenance costs if they can get some, if not all, employees work from home and save themselves a bit from the looming profit losses.
Satellite Office Spaces
I was speaking to a friend who used to travel for about 2-3 hours a day to reach his office. He was complaining about how he spent almost a month, every year, on roads. And how much he likes this lockdown, with a smirk on his face. He knows that it cannot be happening forever as his profile demands his presence in the office, and WFH is not the luxury he can afford, always.
This conversation got me thinking more about satellite office spaces. Companies could do more in-depth planning of team structuring based on employees residence and let smaller groups operate from offices closer to their homes. They could easily afford to make use of co-working spaces or incubation centres as these micro offices.
Over a phone conversation, a couple of friends who work as operations heads in mid-sized companies were mentioning how they began scouting options to outsource some of the activities in their offices. Upon inquiry, I came to know that they are speaking about outsourcing non-core tasks.
Although it makes a perfect sense, I haven’t seen a lot of companies doing that. But, looks like it is going to change. Going forward, Companies would be more aggressive and innovative when it comes to outsourcing. It would clear a lot of operational hassles besides saving some money.
The whole world of software product builders is sitting back and began observing the aspect of remote working. Never, until now, the internet was flooded with multitude of stories related to working from home. Lipsmacking User Research data served hot on an inexpensive platter! Outcome? Better and reliable methods of remote management. Of course, there are a bunch of tools already doing a decent job. But the new wave of data would definitely still the big void begging to be filled.
Collaboration tools, Remote Project Management software, task tracking software and a lot more will become increasingly essential, and we would begin to see productivity tools gearing up to this demand. Big and small companies will invest more in ideas around these needs.
We are an eternally optimistic species. Beyond any doubt, we would bounce back and thrive. But, the world would not be the same again. A lot would change. Newer ideas would flow, and businesses would flourish in unchartered areas.
The only wish I have is that we get a little more responsible towards the planet.