Every day, on average, I e-meet eight clients of mine. In normal circumstances, we discuss business and communications. These days, however, on top of those topics, we have an uninvited ‘guest’ during our meetings – ladies and gentlemen, his name is of course COVID-19, aka coronavirus.
I can say I’m blessed, because not only my work has been unaffected so far, but also, I can hear each of my clients’ perspective on the global pandemic which stormed into our lives. The media are releasing most threatening statements such as ‘Coronavirus: The world economy at risk’ or even ‘Coronavirus will cause a global recession?’. While staying at home for a few weeks now and limiting my social interaction to a mere trip to a grocery store, I feel it is not only for my knowledge but also my mental health that I ask my clients if they think it’s really going to be that bad? You need to know that among my clients are doctors, scientists, economists, food producers, professionals from all walks of life who live in various countries around the world so I hope their complementary knowledge will help me paint a most realistic picture of the threat. After all, I’ve been part of the news dissemination world for many years, and I can assure you that the catchier the headline the more views an article generates, and that’s something that matters most in a digital era.
Stopped or delayed production, mass layoffs, reduced salaries, growing prices – these are common news headlines and only some of the aspects of today’s economy that can turn our lives upside down. Economists have offered some initial estimates of the economic crisis, and the vast majority of them look grim, with global growth domestic product rate at zero this year. But according to others, it is still too early to forecast the outcome, given the uncertainty of how many people will become infected and how long businesses will stay shut. While some of my clients see the future of their firms in dark colours, others are waiting in the wings to launch their innovative business idea. Faced with a global crisis, there are still companies that are now growing, with Amazon hiring 100,000 employees and US Walmart planning to hire 150,000 new associates to work in stores, clubs and distribution centres. Apparently, there are jobs that enable quarantine practices – ecommerce fulfillment, food delivery and video communication platforms.
All in all, I like to think we can look at the same situation from two very different points of view, and while one of my clients told me he forecasts an economic disaster, another revealed high hopes she has with regards to the pandemic: At the end of it, she wants to see humans with a less commercial approach to life, stronger family bonds, less pollution and more care of the environment.
*Featured photo credited to Financial Times