The impact of Covid-19 on work
In response to increasing restriction on travel, growing calls to embrace a more digital workspace and self-isolation protocols, global investment manager, Schroders is re-evaluating the necessity of many face-to-face meetings due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Indeed, many businesses have moved to remote working and meetings and conferences are being switched to virtual ones.
Tools to facilitate meetings and conferences virtually are widely available and enable businesses to continue working productively during the pandemic.
It also means companies are forced to lower carbon footprint as air travel usage plummets and commuters stay at home.
The increase in remote working could, in fact, dramatically increase productivity – reducing all the unproductive time and cost associated with airports, planes, hotels and taxis.
The changing working landscape
Schroders reports that it did not see the trend they expected to 10-15 years ago when the technology for virtual meetings first became available, indeed, business travel has been a major growth industry for the aviation and high-end hotel business.
However, Covid-19 is changing this.
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“Tools that can reduce business travel have long been available. The coronavirus is forcing us to use them, and the climate could benefit,” says Simon Webber, lead portfolio manager, Global Equities, Schroders.
Companies being forced to work remotely for a period of weeks or months are focusing organisational resources on getting the systems fit for purpose.
Employees, clients and customers may gradually become accustomed to this style of work.
This could lead to a surge in remote working software, video conferencing technology and better employee personal technology, which are all experiencing high demand.
For instance, there has been a spike in downloads of apps like Zoom, a video conferencing tool, towards the end of February.
With ever great opportunities to work efficiently online, ever-increasing pressure on companies to limit their greenhouse gas emissions and the International Air Transport Association reporting that the 2020 revenue loss for industries relying on long-distant travel could be between $63 billion and $113 billion, it seems that working patterns established during the Covid-19 outbreak might have some role in future business models.