Businesses Warned There Will Be No “Back to Normal” Following COVID-19 Pandemic

World Temporarily Closed

Businesses are being warned there will be no ‘back to normal’ following the COVID-19 pandemic and the idea of simply ‘bouncing back’ isn’t feasible.

Lex Drennan is an adjunct research fellow at Griffith University’s Policy Innovation Hub and an industry leader in the fields of crisis and disaster management.

Lex Drennan, Griffith University

Lex Drennan, Griffith University.

“Bouncing back is not enough,” Drennan said.

“It might get you to where you were beforehand, but it’s not going to keep you safe in future, and it’s not going to give you strategies that will help you actually become profitable again.”

Part of her reasoning is a belief that the pandemic will be a rolling brief and not just a temporary blip.

“I suspect over the next 18 months, this is not the last time we’re going to go into some form of lockdown.

“I don’t think it’s going to be the case that in three or four weeks time, we just go back to normal. So this is not a short term interruption, (it’s) an epic interruption to life.

“It’s entirely probable that particularly if we let off the gas off the restrictions too soon, that there’s going to be second wave and third wave and fourth wave flare ups.”

Drennan says despite the current pain, businesses must start strategizing around a new normal.

“Particularly those businesses that have shut down, (they) have a once in a lifetime, unfortunate luxury of being able to just talk to anyone and everyone,” she explained.

“Their world is changing, their business world is changing.

“Reach out to your loyal customers, your suppliers, your vendors, those sorts of things, start having these conversations now around how it is going to change everything when you reopen, and start rethinking about how you want the business to work?

“How do you position it to take advantage of the opportunities that arise? What are the weaknesses in your supply chain? Start making that sort of planning now, because once it goes back to business, relatively speaking, as usual, it’s going to be, you know, greenlight and go.

“Now is the sole opportunity to sit down and actually really rethink what your business is about, and what you want to do with it.”

Drennan says COVID-19 will bring with it enormous behavior change, another reason businesses which were successful before the pandemic, may not be sustainable after.

“This is a catastrophic impact on not just one society but global society. That thing continues over an extended period of time. It changes how people think.

“A classic example of this is the Brisbane drought and we were in a drought for the better part of seven years.

“When you put people through really intense pressure, and force behavior change on them, that lasts for an extended period of time, that behavior change becomes a permanent way of thinking.”

Drought Illustration

Drennan lived the drought as a local, but led the Drought taskforce at Brisbane City Council during this time.

“I’ll spend the rest of my life saving water because the impact and the duration was so deep and for long enough that it permanently changed how I see the world.

“That’s what’s going to happen with this pandemic because we’re all going to be hanging on tenterhooks until we get this vaccine in 12 to 18 months’ time.

“That’s a long time to live with the threat of ending the reality of people getting very sick and dying in numbers that far outstrip what constitutes normal.

“It can’t help but change the way people think and interact with each other.”

1 Comment on "Businesses Warned There Will Be No “Back to Normal” Following COVID-19 Pandemic"

  1. I disagree completely.
    This is following a bell curve, and once it starts coming down, it should drop about as quickly as it grew. But yes there is always the risk of another wave. As I am writing this there are 19,577 recovered people, and that is growing exponentially.

    Both of these are lagging the infection. As far as I can tell the infection rate is about 11 days behind the actual date of infection. With over 367,000 people testing positive, we know they were infected about 11 days ago. (If my information is correct.) Also since roughly 80% of the people who have the virus have minor symptoms they are less likely to be tested at this time. I believe the number is actually at least 3 times higher, meaning a million, and that was 11 days ago.

    By the time the bell curve hits the bottom, there will be about 2 million people who are immune. While not perfect that is a decent roadblock to the virus.

    But there are a few things happening right now that make this even better. Rapid tests are being ramped up so everyone can be tested. Once things slow down they will be able to test more people and do a better job of finding and suppressing the virus.

    Then the drugs being touted seem to be helping. There is a new one that does in fact clear out the virus in 48 hours, that is going to be tested to make sure the functional dose is safe in humans. (Article was posted on this site.) There is a vaccine starting testing in September. I would prefer sooner, but that is still good.

    We will not just jump back into our regular routines, and people will come back slowly, but people will be surprised at how quickly things do come back.

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