Coronavirus will change the way we live and do business, according to a technology expert.
Up to now, the technology has been available but not used to full potential, but the fear of catching and spreading the deadly illness has changed the world.
Businesses are facing seismic changes as markets dry up and travel plans are cancelled or put on hold, says wealth manager Schroders.
Although the tools for remote working have been around for years, no one has looked at them as a means of controlling climate change.
“These tools should dramatically increase productivity – just think of all the unproductive time and cost associated with airports, planes, hotels and taxis. Yet their use has not taken off as much as expected and business travel has been a major growth industry for the aviation and high end hotel business,” says the firm’s Simon Webber, a global equities portfolio manager.
“The behavioural changes that the coronavirus is forcing on people in such dramatic fashion are likely to lead to a re-evaluation of the necessity of many face-to-face meetings. Many businesses have moved to remote working, and business meetings and conferences are being switched to virtual ones.“
Webber feels the global switch to homeworking could lead to a permanent change away from meetings to video conferencing.
“Employees, clients and customers will gradually become accustomed to it,” he said.
“While some will not like it, the chances are that many people will, and managers will recognise the benefits of shifting more permanently in this direction.
“For many services businesses, business travel-related emissions are the largest source of their carbon footprint. But more and more companies are committing to manage down their own footprint in line with the Paris agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. If the airline industry is unable to find an alternative propulsion technology to jet engines, the only way for businesses to reduce travel-related emissions is to travel less.
“In a nutshell, until the aviation industry develops a technological solution that doesn’t involve burning things in the upper atmosphere, we simply can’t fly all over the place all the time and expect to solve the climate problem.”
The move to remote working also offers investment opportunities in companies involved in providing the software and technology companies need, added Webber.