What’s the Next Big Question?

Could this pandemic be a once in a lifetime change or should we be asking, “what’s next?”.  The good news is that we will get through this. We may not know where the other side is, but we do know there will be another side. As we look forward, we realize that nothing can stop America when you get right down to it.

But lets just be candid about what does come next.  Will we forever be in survival mode? Will lock-downs become the norm? Will we ever get back to hugs and handshakes?  However, there is no precedent or playbook to promote a recovery. Past predictions on what a new norm will be have been profoundly wrong throughout history. Most understand that recovery in the short term is going to be uneven, unsettling and unpredictable and erratic at best.  

Fewer people working in an office will cause companies to divest of real estate, change the purpose of the workplace into a place where employees come, collaborate and innovate and go back to their remote locations.  In manufacturing the process will become more automated and fewer on-site employees and with worker shortages, artificial intelligence will be replacing the human factor in many positions as we know them today.  Those employees who crave the human interaction of the workplace will have to find a balance in their preferences.

If in six months we find out that the corona-virus is going to mutate every year and we’re going to have to worry about this every year, then it’s a very different scenario than a once-in-a-lifetime change.

One thing we do know is that we are deeply in debt and this will change the way we do business both locally and globally.  Our government will become more and more involved in American businesses and regulations will abound.

Though all of this, entrepreneurs and business owners will find ourselves in a tough position with fears, frustrations and anxieties and so will our employees because we many times make decisions not knowing what the future really holds.

What do we think we know for sure about what the future holds for businesses in the years to come?

  1. Agility is essential – Business goes to those who are agile and if you can’t respond, it goes to the ones that are willing to make changes and adjust.
  2. Productivity Flourishes – Who knew the virtual workplace could produce the results we are seeing by a workforce that does not work in an office building every day? Workplaces will change and so will productivity.
  3. Workspace Redesigned – Not only common spaces with antimicrobial furnishings, but door-opening systems, centerline spacing and non-touch resources that respond to voice commands etc.  Safer, better and different.
  4. Suburban surge – Families with kids will be looking to get out of the cities where there is a concentration of people and crowds. Large cities will thin out and suburban communities will again thrive.  Good for all it appears.
  5. Breaking away from Foreign Dependence – We will see a move by American businesses to begin doing more manufacturing of similar or better products than what they are depending on from other countries.
  6. Automation Straightaway – Robotics and computerization will increase exponentially with Artificial Intelligence.  Human interaction is essential for understanding how to manage and support this automation, however.

Just for fun I looked up funny predictions about 2020

  1. Toe-Free Humans – in 1911 it was predicted that by 2020 people would have only one single toe instead of the usual five.  Now that is weird.
  2. Underwater Fields of Algae – a considerable part of our diet would be crushed algae and it would be grown in underwater fields.
  3. Total World Robotization – futurologists said robot and AI would replace most workers in the workplace with only 10% humans in leadership positions.
  4. Monkeys Driving – In 1994 it was predicted that people would start breeding trained primates to become taxi drivers and manual laborers.
  5. Tea and Coffee will be in Disgrace – in 1935 it was proposed that humanity would give up on coffee and tea after their harm to the body has been proven.

Some predictions have come true – we will be tracked wherever we go, self- driving cars, 8 billion people on the planet “unless we lose a large number globally because of Covid-19”.

Our future is going to be awesome and we need leadership to keep asking the question – What’s next? and looking forward to the future with optimism and hope.

Do you have a prediction of what you think the world is going to look like in 2021?

Share it with our readers

Enjoy asking the question “What’s Next?”



Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Travis Jones

Travis has been an entrepreneur and business owner in Tulsa for over 30 years. He is a well-known community servant and is dedicated to providing world-class service for everyone we encounter at Career Development Partners.

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