Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Will COVID-19 change the workplace and shopping habits permanently?

Asked by JLeslie (61539points) March 14th, 2020 from iPhone

Will some workplaces reevaluate telecommuting altogether, and allow more of it in the future? Less money spent on office space, and it’s greener for the environment.

Will people buy more online ongoing now that they are doing it to avoid stores, or get items the stores have run out of? Will the behavior permanently switch for those who has been resistant to use online previously?

Or, is it just the opposite? Businesses will look forward to things back to normal and more face-to-face interaction with employees? Will people prefer to puck their own apples and tomatoes, and so supermarket buying will never disappear.

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26 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Doubtful. When the immediate threat is over, companies will go back to their previous ways of managing and people will go back to stores like they always did.

The only difference that (maybe) business will be better prepared for the next time.

I see the COVID thing as a temporary aberration, not a permanent change.

seawulf575's avatar

It will make many people rethink how they view those doomsday prepper nuts.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

A lot of corporations and groups have been forced into making contingency plans that will remain. Universities are going to be offering more distance learning. Basically things will go back to normal but we’ll be better prepared when this happens again.

JLeslie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I should have thought to mention education, great point. I think some things are better taught in a classroom, but I do think online learning is going to grow more and more even without the virus. I wonder if it will affect homeschooling K-12? I don’t know if other countries are just delaying schooldays and will make them up in the summer, or doing online or what?

janbb's avatar

It’s my experience that mankind rarely learns from their mistakes and most things will go back to normal when this is over except for those who have lost family members.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I do hope there won’t be as many handshakes, hugs, and kisses. I’ve never been comfortable with all that touching among people I don’t know intimately. It doesn’t impede business if we avoid handshakes, and social interactions are fine without embraces.

JLeslie's avatar

@Love_my_doggie You and me both. I have my doubts. People never seem to learn this. My neighbor said her church was still doing the handshake last Sunday. Why does any church do that, especially during flu season, forget this one off COVID-19 nightmare. I’d argue the evangelicals are still not taking this seriously, but I don’t know how many churches are like their church.

Elbow bump, but sneeze and cough into your elbow. I mean really, it’s insane. I don’t need to touch a stranger just to say hello. We need either to be ok with a smile and a hello, or go to the Asian bowing. I’ve been saying it for years. I think it is especially hard for men to not shake hands, I might be wrong about that.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There was a great article in a recent The Economist magazine. (I will try to find it later.)
They talked about how many businesses and individuals should/will use this as an opportunity to evaluate how well they were doing things Before Covid. (The new B.C.?)
They used a past transit line strike closing that forced people to take different routes. Once the strike ended about 15%(?) of the people continued to take the new routes they found.
This will likely happen in all aspects of business and home life.

JLeslie's avatar

@LuckyGuy I’d love to read that article. I tried to google and didn’t come up with it. If you do find it that would be great. No rush.

mazingerz88's avatar

Will this virus change things? Yes. I’m hoping there would be no more American deaths as of today. We should take it as being lucky considering it seems it caught us sleeping behind the wheel.

But it has already changed our thinking nonetheless and if we are indeed smart humans we should anticipate more deadly viruses in the future and prepare accordingly.

Somewhere capitalists and smart scientists are coming up with faster detection methods while governments should make policies making those test kits available like fire extinguishers in homes and buildings like airports and ocean vessel entry points.

If American deaths don’t go as high as other hard hit countries would Americans now just relax and get back to normal? I’m assuming no.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Some one made a point on Facebook that 144 children have died from the flu since the beginning of the year, but we didn’t close schools.
Zero children have died from Covid 19, yet we’re closing schools like crazy.

The world has flat gone mad.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t think you’re quite as informed about this as you think you are.

canidmajor's avatar

And really, the closing of the schools and businesses and social distancing are about slowing the spread and not overwhelming the medical system. There are many things about this you are really not getting at all. Read some of the links we all have posted.

Irukandji's avatar

@Dutchess_III Closing the schools isn’t about protecting children. It’s about preventing children from becoming asymptomatic disease vectors, which would both increase the rate of infection and inhibit our ability to track the spread of the virus.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I’d like to add to what everybody has said. This really has nothing to do with the children getting sick and dying. At all. I have family members with severe medical issues and bad immune systems. I work in a nursing home. You should watch the update the Coronavirus task force team just gave earlier today. Lots of people are asymptomatic and THAT’S the concern. I get my temp taken and get asked questions at work, but if my temp is fine and I have no symptoms, what is that protecting against? Nothing. And then I infect residents at the home. That spirals.

It has nothing to do with whose dying and who isn’t. It’s about PREVENTION and PROTECTION of those at risk.

Yes, some people are overreacting and being selfish. Those people are assholes. But social distancing, closing schools, it’s what @canidmajor said about not overwhelming the medical system, and about protecting it from spreading to people who it will seriously affect.

People need to stop comparing this to other diseases/viruses of the past. We are reacting this way this early on so we don’t turn into Italy or Iran. Unless you really want that

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I just saw it somewhere (and don’t remember where can’t link it) there would be 50 million tourism jobs lost. Found it ! !

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I posted lots of links on one of your FB posts, about the virus and how the death rates are so much higher than the flu, yet you keep bringing up the flu as a comparison.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

My husband told me of his grandfather living through the Spanish Flu epidemic.
They would put their dead outside the house to be picked up.
Things were much different back then as they had communal laundries, public transportation was the means many used to get around, no refrigeration, open air markets,no indoor plumbing.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@JLeslie I found the article. The Economist March 7th – 13th Page 62 Schumpeter: Plan V “Covid-19 is foisting change on business. Some of it may be for the better.”

Note: In my previous comment, my guess of 15% was incorrect. The actual number stated is 5%.

johnpowell's avatar

The paperless office thing has been a dream since I was 12. If you think companies haven’t wanted to make people work from home forever you would be mistaken. The majority of people will just do fuck-all if there are distractions. In college I had to go to the schools library to get anything done. This was before wifi. There was no internet in the library.

It might work in companies with hyper-nerds like Google and Facebook. But normal people will just fuck around on Facebook or watch The Price is Right instead of working. If anything this is going to prove what a horrible idea it is.

jca2's avatar

I was saying to one friend who does compliance for an insurance corporation, which now is probably going to relax its deadlines, it’s amazing how when companies are forced to change, they can change. Things such as deadlines which are drilled into workers’ heads as being strict and non-flexible, now have become less strict and more flexible.

Meanwhile, a friend is volunteering for one of the local Republican parties and she and her husband have to knock on doors to get signatures, so candidates can be put on the ballot. It’s not just the Republicans that do it this way, all the parties do it. I said to her what an antiquated load of bullshit that is, having to knock on constituents’ doors, especially in this time of the virus, to get signatures? You’d think with modern technology, they’d think of another way. If you can do banking online and you can do other major stuff online, you should be able to go online to say you agree that so-and-so should be on a ballot. Or they should be able to do a mailing to all of the people in the district in the party, and get signatures through the mail.

I’d be pissed if someone showed up at my door now. Dangerous for her and dangerous for the people whose doors she’s knocking on, with the virus.

I don’t know how the census is going to be done. That’s another thing we’ve been hearing about – how important it is for everyone to be counted and how they’re going to go knocking on doors of households that don’t send in the paper. Now, nobody in their right mind would do that for a job and few people would welcome someone knocking on their door for that.

Jonsblond's avatar

Yes. I believe so. This is unprecedented.

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