Despite the devastation caused by COVID-19, technology has safeguarded our economy and prevented the world from devolving into chaos.
Saved by the Tech
COVID-19 has caused devastation on a personal and global level, yet had this pandemic hit at any other time over the last 2,000 years, the effect would have been significantly more catastrophic.
Imagine a world where 80% of the workforce is in lockdown, 33% of the population is unemployed, the global supply chain is massively disrupted, medical practitioners are ordered to shut down, physical distancing is mandated, and a food supply panic sweeps the nation alongside the highest-ever spike in gun sales (data specific to the US).
This is a recipe for total chaos. Yet thanks to technology, businesses have continued operating with some degree of normalcy. Technology systems have safe-guarded supply chains; remote communications have leveraged in education, medical services, customer services, logistics, and entertainment; and essential businesses like commerce, insurance, and finance have continued providing services online. In short, technology has played a vital role in enabling our economy to survive.
Winners and Losers
Whenever unexpected disaster strikes, there are winners and losers. Today’s winners are telecommunication, grocery, e-commerce, fintech, digital media, sporting goods, and logistics/warehouse management. Losers include: the fuel industry, tourism, fitness/gyms, hospitality, transportation, arts and entertainment, local government, and shared economy.
What separates the winners from the losers? The losers are tech neutral, and the winners are tech driven.
The Hidden Benefits of COVID-19
COVID-19 has in some ways made us stronger as the world has gone digital: older generations have been rapidly indoctrinated into using technology, remote work has accelerated digital transformation, online commerce has stimulated price competitiveness, and our ability to stay connected and leverage technology for supply chain and business operations has quadrupled.
More tangibly, remote work has boosted hourly productivity by approximately 40%, with actual work time per day going from 5.23 hours to 9 hours. Meeting attendance has gone from 70% to 90%, and business operations are running leaner. Social distancing has produced closer collaboration and communication, with teams gravitating toward phone and video conferencing (email usage is down by 30%).
All of this has led to a quick injection of globalization. For the first time ever, we have a shared collective global conscience and a global acceptance of distributed teams.
So What Have We Learned?
A new level of perfection is often born out of devastating events, as is the case with COVID-19. As terrible as it has been, we’re learning more and more, not only about how resilient humanity can be, but also about how adaptable we all are. Within a few months, our civilization has undergone an evolution for the better. This is a new beginning. Let’s embrace it and build upon it.
The situation with COVID-19 is relatively new and is still developing. The data collected for this article has been found by consolidating a variety of different publications, news articles, daily news, and Avenue Code‘s own business operational data. The author warns the reader that the data is still young and is frequently being reshaped as the pandemic unfolds.
Zeo Solomon is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Avenue Code.