The COVID-19 pandemic, has without a doubt, transformed the world, negatively impacted the economy, and changed the way businesses is conducted. Social and economic changes have been accelerated and the world has shifted rapidly to adapt and survive.

The good news is, crisis situations do come to an end and economies will recover (with time) from the shock which the pandemic has brought about. Yet, will the world as we knew it, be the same?

Here are some predictions that will most likely become a reality, post COVID-19.

Online & e-commerce businesses will continue to thrive

Due to imposed lockdowns, retail and online businesses have had to rapidly shift to enhance their digital services and strengthen their e-commerce solutions, in order to continue to serve customers. The companies that already had a strong online presence, have used this time to improve and grow.

Companies that do not need to come into physical contact with customers are growing in popularity across the globe. The winners in this category are the remote work service providers, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, streaming services, such as Netflix, logistics providers, and grocery / foodstuff sellers.

However, advertising revenues will drop, due to weakened demand. The drop is advertising, even from the world’s biggest brands, such as Coca Cola, will have a grave impact on advertising agencies, the media and production houses.

Working from home may no longer be a requested luxury

Multinational companies have provided the option to employees to work from home once or twice a week, way before the crisis unfolded. This is due to an increase in productivity when team members skipped the commute, and worked from a comfortable setting.

However, with global teams currently confined and working from home, companies will most likely adapt and become more flexible, after the crisis subsides. Working from home comes with many benefits, including lesser cost burdens on companies, from a capacity perspective. Companies will also opt to have smaller offices (which will impact the real estate market). Working remotely may be a leading option for companies, who will be forced to cut down on costs, post crisis.

Remote work has become much simpler to carry out, and face to face meetings may become a thing of the past. Business travel will definitely be reduced to a bare minimum.

Online healthcare services will rise

Across the MENA region, doctors are regularly consulted and visited for even the smallest of ailments. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, doctor consultations have been brought to a halt, and many patients are either carrying out phone, video chat or online consultations.

As a result, e-health and telemedicine companies have seen an increase in their business activity since the start of the crisis. The advantages of this shift include convenience, time-saved and cost efficiency. In addition, doctors will be able to provide their services to a wider spectrum of patients, within the same timeframe.

Online education for all

Schools and universities have shifted their programs online, at an exponential pace, since the crisis unfolded. Due to COVID-19 being highly contagious, laws pertaining to confinement and social distancing are expected to carry well into 2021. Schools and universities have called off physical classes until the end of the year, and students are participating in online classes to complete the semester.

Remote learning will eventually result in lower tuition fees, due to less infrastructural requirements to run physical classes. Students and parents will also be save more, with the advancement of remote learning. In addition, students are being directed to take on courses that will improve their competitiveness in the future workplace, due to the advent of automation in most careers. Here are a selection of coding workshops and boot camps at the BDD Academy, offered in collaboration with the World Bank Group and Code.org, to get children started on their journey into the future. Part of the Skilled up Mashreq (SUM) Initiative, Code.org will be offering its coding courses for free, online to children ages 6 to 18 across Lebanon, in English, Arabic and French.

We have also seen many top universities are opening up their virtual doors and offering courses for free online. Accordingly, students will have greater access to quality courses and content than ever before.

In whichever way the world shifts and transforms post COVID-19, the confinement has taught most individuals that human connection is vital for society to survive. In addition, due to the perceived increase in more free time, self-development and professional growth have become a top priority for many.

We hope to see a happier, healthier and more connected world, post crisis.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the world, here are some predictions of how the world will look, when life goes back to 'normal'.
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