Senior researcher and Director of IPS Projects of the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS) of INCAE Business School, and expert in methodology of The Social Progress Imperative, where he participates in the design and implementation of sub-projects ...
The new normal
The strategy followed by our countries has consisted of "flatten the curve". That is, to reduce the speed of transmission of COVID-19 so as not to saturate the capacity of health systems, through measures of distancing and social isolation, including border closures, vehicle restrictions and control of citizens' freedom of movement. . This strategy It has proven to be effective in terms of its impact in reducing the number of infected, although affecting economic activity.
"Flattening the curve" controls the spread of the virus and prevents the collapse of the health system, but does not eliminate COVID-19, it is a temporary measure. There is still no treatment, and the vacuna is expected by the end of 2021.
lhe effectiveness with which the protocols can be implemented will be decisive to avoid stricter measures and more periods of social distancing during the economic reactivation stage.
Hopefully, in this new normal, there are sectors that can adapt more easily, while others will have to change the way they work in order to remain active. For example, while agricultural activities can work with a level of protocols basics focused on social distance and health measures; the manufactures They will have to follow these measures but also condition the workplace and modify production, exit and lunch shifts, implement COVID-19 testing mechanisms,
divide work teams, among other actions.
Companies must be clear about the risks of their activities and their workplaces, identify what actions to take to prevent and reduce contagion between employees and customers, maintain sanitary measures in all operations, and generate a dynamic of communication and trust with both employees. as with clients.
The customer relationship part will be key, as some analysts are considering at least two long-term effects on the behavior of consumers, first an increase in the E-commerce, this pandemic has made more people learn to buy basic goods from home, in United States Orders grew by 110%, in Canada 59%, in Mexico 74%, and in Colombia 147%. growth with respect to the previous year; and secondly, consumers will look for clean environments and places that guarantee a low probability of contagion, this will affect mainly to the tourism sector, restaurants and bars, there will be tourists who will not reach countries where the virus is not controlled.
Finally, these dynamics in the new normal will require changes in people's behavior, no longer greet with a handshake, until using face mask in the streets, or watch matches of football with the stadiums empty and closed. Adapting to this new normal will be essential to recover what was lost in this "Great Pause" or "Great Confinement" and to heal the economic and social part that has been affected. And although some aspects of the new normal are here to stay and offer new possibilities for business and well-being, it is clear that the economic performance and social progress of the countries will depend on the efficiency and discipline to contain the spread of the virus in its different waves of contagion. minimizing the deterioration in the productive capacity of their economies.