2nd in our five-part special series, Fuqua Entrepreneurs’ Insights on the Road Ahead
Working from home…
Shankar Musunuri: Most businesses moved to virtual meetings instead of face-face and they are functioning fine. Once restrictions are lifted, this will result in reduced travel budgets and airlines will continue to struggle for a while. Employers may be flexible to let employees work from home, at least part of the time, based on this positive virtual experience.
David Snow: Web services such as Zoom for voice and video business communication have taken center stage during the COVID-19 crisis. I think people have learned to communicate and run their business using this medium. This will reduce the need for business travel significantly post-COVID which is bad news for the airline and hotel industries. On a related matter, work from home has reduced the need for the expense of large office buildings and large office footprints. I think that businesses have learned that work from home can be managed and they can reduce the overhead costs associated with office real estate. This is permanent bad news for commercial real estate owners and brokers.
Andy Horwitz: I think the working remote trend is here to stay and will only accelerate, promoting tech infrastructure businesses, remote software businesses and hurting the demand for office space.
Beverly Sobel-Redler: Work from home is here to stay, which will have consequential reduction in dedicated corporate workspaces and a subsequent reduction in commuting.
Online purchases and delivery…
Shankar Musunuri: Due to restrictions, many people were forced to order online including groceries. This experience may result in more online sales compared to pre-COVID era.
Andy Horwitz: Online shopping which was already a major trend will only continue to grow as the older generations have been forced to learn to use these tools and the younger generations already defaulted to this type of purchasing (this will hurt malls and push many retailers to bankruptcy).
David Snow: I believe that COVID-19 has pushed Telemedicine into the mainstream and I believe that it is here to stay. Both consumers and physicians are pleased with the telemedicine experience and the efficiency. Also, insurance companies reimburse for telemedicine services now which they didn’t pre-COVID.
Brad Hirsch: I run a clinical trial technology company and we are seeing dramatic change in the future state of clinical trials. Over the last couple of years there has been a movement toward virtual or direct to patient clinical trials. However, there was little change among those conducting traditional trials at brick and mortar sites with doctors, patients and clinical research staff. The two models were evolving in parallel. Over the last few months they started to merge in exciting ways. Clinicians have been forced to embrace technology to maintain their practice and their trials. One of our networks went from <50 virtual visits in February to >6,000 in March. While the pressures will lessen, I believe that an entire generation of clinicians and patients will have become comfortable with new models and it will open entirely new paradigms in clinical research. By forcing individuals across industries to embrace change and consider new approaches, I think we will see lasting impact.