By Professor Lawrence Bellamy, Academic Dean, Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism
The response to Coronavirus limiting the movement of people has forced the world to consider how it operates, with homeworking becoming a more significant factor and one which is likely to have a lasting impact on employment practices. In addition, the habits of individuals, changes to markets and competitive dynamics will also yield lasting effects on a range of sectors, a few considered as follows.
The collapse in air travel will squeeze out the weaker competitors and leave fewer airlines, probably with a reduced desire for travel, with the rise of e-communications and e-tourism replacing some of the future travel interest. In addition, commuting will be considered as more proportionately optional with effective homeworking practices meaning that not every day (or week) will be an office day.
The lack of high-street access and concerns over supermarkets has exposed more people to online, home delivery and local for small and frequent purchases, changing their habits permanently. With a number of retailers unlikely to make it through the difficult conditions, even substantial support will see many unable to regain market share. The market shrinks and boutique and leisure becomes the reason to shop.
Machines don’t get sick and automation can reduce the reliance on manual workers. It is also likely to make the firm more productive and profitable in the future. With available money within the economy as recovery takes place then the sector will be reviewing staffing, contingency and how to work smarter.
"The response to Coronavirus limiting the movement of people has forced the world to consider how it operates. The habits of individuals, changes to markets and competitive dynamics will yield lasting effects on a range of sectors."
Professor Lawrence Bellamy, Academic Dean, Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism
Some sectors of construction (for example house-building) have been very labour intensive, with gangs of workers on site for extended periods using traditional methods. New methods to reduce build times using modular approaches are likely to be more cost-effective and allow for shorter development time, with skilled trades moving to automated offsite fabrication techniques.
Knowledge workers are specialists who can work independently and usually come together for ideas and facilities sharing and co-ordination. The home-office can now match the workplace for the majority of tasks and smaller central footprints or even virtual organisations can do the jobs which had to be within the corporate facility a few years ago. Data handling, communications and systems can operate remotely and the resulting overhead reduction is a very welcome outcome with the benefits of employing the best people wherever they may be based.
Overall there is likely to be a seismic shift in the dynamics of markets, the way people work, the methods deployed and the skills required. Most of this was coming anyway, but the global shock is proving to be a significant accelerant.
Learn more about Professor Lawrence Bellamy and the Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism.
Published: 2 April 2020