Covid-19: Learn to live and work with it… Fast


Firstly, we are not going to shut ourselves at home and lose our minds for the next few weeks.  This is the first time we are experiencing a truly global pandemic and we’re all learning what the hell to do.  However, rather than staring into a paralyzed abyss of a suspended reality of virtual conference calls, binge-watching the entire five seasons of the Wire (again) and watching your son’s best friend’s mom forbid them sharing Pokémon cards, take a deep breath.  This thing is not going to ruin our lives.  We just can’t let it.

Getting from abnormal to normal… quickly

The next 3-4 weeks we’ll figure out what’s going on.  Firstly, we just don’t have all the data points yet.  We don’t know how many people will get infected, and the speed that this will move – but it’s getting clearer everyday.  In 3-4 weeks, we’ll all have much better data on the longevity of this thing, and how to manage ourselves accordingly for our families and our jobs.

We must quickly find our steady-living-state where ‘abnormal is normal’. Once we have a clearer picture, and we’re all taking sensible measures of self-distancing and avoiding risky gatherings, we can start planning our life again.  We’ll know many people with whom we can meet, the houses we can visit, have small gatherings with colleagues we all know are observing sensible routines, even clients we can visit with in non-crowded sanitized offices, meeting rooms for hire which are Covid-19 compliant – or even each other’s houses, if the relationship is that good.  We won’t be hopping on planes for a few weeks, but we can make the most of our social and professional networks around us.

Its time to get to work rapidly framing our new future, or we could quickly get left behind. Economies are changing, and most clients’ needs are radically changing with it.  Business models that may have worked just a couple of weeks ago may already be dead in the water.  Emerging technologies such as effective automation suites and the need to redesign processes will be more needed by companies more than ever.  The hyperscale cloud will be the platform where global business is done.  Turmoil forces change, and the current maelstrom will create rapid opportunities for some, and significant challenges for many caught in the headwinds.  Keeping right on top of this is critical, and having research, advice and validation to support quick decisions has never been so critical.

This may not be going away anytime soon, so we just have to learn how to live with this.  When reading what the experts in viruses are researching, it’s pretty clear that things thing will probably dissipate in warmer weather, but is highly likely to return again in the winter.  In fact, it may just become a really nasty strain of flu that comes back in phases – and many of us will become immune because we had a strain of it, while there will also be preventative drugs and (touch-wood) a “Covid-19 shot” we can take that will negate our catching this.

We’ll emerge into a more virtual, hygiene-conscious world, and I really hope we’ll all be wiser for the experience as the whole value equation of society changes for the better

I’d be very surprised if this comes and goes in several weeks and we never hear from it again.  It will take weeks to dissipate, there’ll be recurrences in various geographies, and there’ll be constant speculation about new strains emerging.  Yes, this is a huge pain in the backside.  But it’s here and will likely lurk around our lives and society for much longer than we expect.  However, it has raised awareness of core hygiene issues so many people always ignored, and it has made the issue of fake news and lack of real, credible data the most critical issue today. It is also forcing many countries to address their woefully underfunded health systems and may even create a new value system where critical issues like climate change become more important political issues than merely the growth of the stock market.

The Bottom-line: it’s time to face up to this new normality… and we hope a new societal value equation

We’ll be back on planes eventually and grandstanding the next awesome technology innovations at conferences.  But I hope we’ll all emerge a little more humble, human and socially conscious than we once were. 

However, what we can’t do is wallow in paranoia, fear and allow ourselves to get sucked into a vortex of negativity.  The stock market will most likely get hammered, we’ll tackle a difficult recession and many people will likely lose their jobs.  However, our global economy will recover and we’ll find prosperity again.  Let’s just hope it’s a world where we care more for our people, our health, our education, and our planet.

Posted in : policy-and-regulations



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  1. Phil, as always, a straight forward, succinct, spot on environmental analysis presented in a very human way.


  2. Could not have come at a more opportune time! Love the title “Learn to Live and work with it”… every piece of ‘credible research’ and ‘literature’ around it makes it very clear that we will never know for sure ‘whether someone has it’ (because there are those who get it and don’t show symptoms at all), will it ever vanish from the phase of earth for certain… no one knows any of this… and yet, the impact that it has created in the last few weeks is unprecedented by any measure… we have to boost immunity and accept the fact that we still might contract it… but our systems could well become immune to it… ‘herd immunity’ (a term i am reading for the first time). Whichever way it is, the point is… we have to live with it and work with it! Disclaimer: this is my absolute personal opinion 😉

  3. So well articulated and to the point and loved every word of it “emerging technologies and the need to redesign process” absolute opportunity to relook at the we work and the way we should moving forward.

    Thanks Phil.

  4. Interesting read. Yes, we will get through it but what is on the other side? Perhaps it is time to read or re-read “Who Moved My Cheese”. We each can each be as reslient as we need to be. Chin up, reach out to others when you need help.

  5. Fair enough Phil. Times will recover.

    It is a crazy time right now, however. Last time the recession hit us, it took a few months. The early impact showed up in late 2007 and then it unfolded more severely in 2008-2009, even if Lehman’s collapsed in a week. People were still travelling and eating out in 2009.

    In one month, just one month, airlines, hotels, movie theatres, retail malls, restaurants and many more businesses (small and big) are going from normal revenues to near zero. Atleast in Indian cities they are all shutting down. And offices, well who needs real-estate? Work from home? No one is watching cricket on the fields any longer here.

    All this already on the back of the trade wars, the Rupee/oil crisis and the growing walls between people of different nations (immigration controls).

    A very different situation in contract to the period just before 2007? What next?

  6. Thanks for cutting straight to the core issues at hand. Will we revert to our old ways of looking at roles in society, or will we use this “long strange trip” to bring about change so sorely needed. It’s an irony of human nature that we often don’t see what is right in front of us – this pandemic may help to prioritize our most important, collective challenges. And those of us in professional services have a huge opportunity to help in that process.

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