Life in the „touchless” economy

Life in the „touchless” economy

Author: Constantin Magdalina, Emerging Trends and Technologies Expert

In the post-pandemic period, the economy will be shaped by new behaviors and regulations due to social distance, imposed by travel restrictions and hygiene. We will eat differently, work differently, shop differently, and play sports differently, take care of our health differently, socialize, and spend our free time differently. We will experience the difference and change at such a fast pace that we did not do even when the Internet appeared.

By the time of the discovery of a vaccine or mass immunization it follows, according to estimates, 2 years of searching and emotions. A social, economic, and emotional roller coaster that is already producing important changes.

I list down here 7 of these trends with the confidence their awareness is useful for our preparation in the coming period.

1. Accentuated isolation

Unfortunately, the loss of jobs and social distancing will further isolate people, generate insecurity, and activate their survival mechanisms. It will put pressure on relationships with the loved ones and infringe on their physical and emotional health. Identified as the main demographic at risk during the pandemic, the senior generation will continue to be isolated. Against this background will increase the demand for therapy and coaching services, buying pets, purchasing games, and using online social media tools.

2. Distrust in the hygiene

Caution is the emblematic word for the current and post-pandemic period. Companies will formalize the health check of employees and the interactions between them. In certain contexts, it is possible to appear the requirement to present a specific medical record. The social interaction protocol is changing. In this context, the emergence of new packaging models and the preference for products with a scientific basis vs. the “natural” ones. The demand for home deliveries for extended product categories will increase.

3. Limited mobility

Once used as escape techniques from everyday life, travel and tourism have now become sources of multiple risks. The risk of being contaminated by the inevitable contact with other passengers or tourists, the risk of staying in a foreign country and not being able to return home due to travel restrictions imposed. Against this background in the post-pandemic period, in international tourism, city breaks will decrease, and stays for a longer period will increase. Instead, local tourism will increase - the working holiday in the country will become a coveted luxury for urban people.

4. Office desck in the living room

The word "home" begins to nuance its semantics. Most likely it will also mean the arrangement and adaptation of the living space to the functionality of office space. It is expected that most companies in liquidity deficit will reduce their office space and physical infrastructure. Instead, it is expected that employees will purchase audio/video equipment to accommodate their professional and personal lives. Security policies and protocols will need to be adapted to teleworking.

5. Increased tension and conflict

Operation in survival conditions can bring to light dormant conflicts between employees and between them and companies. Either may violate contractual agreements, regulations, or internal policies. The force majeure is in the top of searches on Google Trends and it is expected that legal confrontations will appear forcing lawyers to change the course of the profession to the digital mode. More and more digital automation tools will be adopted by law firms.

6. Unprecedented reconversion

More and more employees will have to make a career change because the orientation towards competition is not an option, entire industries being in collapse for a while. Professional retraining and the online training will experience, in the medium and long term, an explosive demand. To supplement the financial security of families, there will be an increase in the number of subsistence entrepreneurship initiatives. Both situations - reconversion and experimentation with entrepreneurship - will bring valuable experience to those involved for when the economy recovers.

7. Identity beyond work

For many people, the job they do is an important component of who they are. But the almost indistinct mixture of work and private life can change this self-referential perspective. Only now do many of our colleagues get to know each other better when they are in a meeting room in their bedroom. Before the pandemic, an element of identity statement in the public space was clothing fashion, now video communication in the digital environment partially replaces this element. Zoom users accessorize and customize their live stream rooms.

In conclusion

Through accelerated digitization, life in physical reality will be complemented by that in virtual space. Participating in events such as ceremonies or rituals will have another type of presence. The mobilization of the community to help seniors and those with special needs will become the expression of elementary civic sense. It is a lot of change, we would say too much. Often necessary, rarely desired, the change will bring a series of social transformations. We cannot yet measure their magnitude. We reset ourselves to operate in a new reality.

About Constantin Magdalina

Constantin Magdalina has 9 years of working experience, while he performed in multinationals both in Romania and abroad. Constantin has a master’s degree in Marketing and Business Communication at the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest. He is certified Lean Six Sigma and ITIL which provide him a good understanding of processes and transformations within organizations. The Chartered Institute of Marketing certification furthered on complemented his expertise and knowledge in business. In those over 4 years working activity in a Big4 company, he initiated and conducted studies which analyzed different aspects related to the business environment in Romania such as the economic growth predictions of companies in 2013-2016, knowledge management, the buying experience in the age of digital consumers, social media 2013-2015, the utilization of mobile devices in Romania. He is the author of numerous articles on topics related to innovation, the efficiency of business processes, social media, the consumers’ buying experience in the age of digital, trends and emergent technologies. He is invited as a speaker at numerous events and business conferences.