The world after the pandemic will re-examine how we work, do business, and above all, shape a new global economic landscape
Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
ALMOST 1.3 million people have been infected with Covid-19 globally. More than 70,000 people have died due to the pandemic, just over three months after the virus was first detected. The statistics, speed and death showed a grim picture.
Although the world had more than two months to prepare against the virus, the pathogen likened to SARS managed to seep into nations, spread like a bushfire in the summer and totally disable healthcare systems in many countries, like in Italy.
Governments, including Malaysia, announced stimulus packages and capital injections to ensure that the people’s livelihoods are protected despite signs this pandemic will drag the country into recession.
Covid-19 has forced many countries into lockdown and shuttered borders, effectively halting trading and economic activities for a good one month at least.
Businesses and organisations around the world are trying to adapt in this trying time.
Many companies are in a dire state. What most sectors realise during the crisis is that they need to rethink their business strategies, operation models and human resources deployment and utilisation.
While it may have been forced on them, many now learn that some meetings and discussion can be done through emails and text messages.
Working from home (or anywhere but the office) has now become a new paradigm. In most cases, it is a viable option.
The sq m area per staff would be smaller and if this trend persists and more companies decide to opt for co-working space in the future, the already battered property market will hit new lows.
Space is no longer a luxury as companies are looking at ways of reducing their operational and capital expenditures. A smaller office space means lower rental cost without sacrificing productivity, output and results.
Employers’ response, especially in the treatment of their staff and welfare during this crisis, will be evaluated and scrutinised.
Some big brands have already suffered public backlash due to their tone-deaf approach, but it remains to be seen how severe the implications are for these firms.
The additional RM10 billion package announced by the government could provide the much-needed respite. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) hope there will not be unnecessary red tapes to get the assistance.
The public also warned that bailouts for industries are deemed “too big to fail”. The government will have to decide soon on the best route to appease investors, business owners and ordinary people.
Any move that is seen to prioritise corporations and not the people will expose the government to criticisms.
The optimists among us expect the economy to recover within six months. Others warned against the reopening of economies until a vaccine is found or the outbreak has been contained. Some reports suggest 18 months before we return to normalcy.
But the world, post-Covid-19 will be totally different from what we know or used to know. Just like how the US history is marked pre- 9/11 and post-9/11, the world after the coronavirus will drive us to the drawing board, re-examine how we work, interact, do business, and above all, shape a new global economic landscape. Post-Covid-19 will be like Christopher Columbus’ discovery, though unintentional of the Americas or the European migrants conquering the heartland of the US.
A new world will rise from the ashes of this pandemic.
- Azreen Hani is the online news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.