What happens after Covid?

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AMS
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What happens after Covid?

Post by AMS » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:40 am

A thread for musings on the post-pandemic world. What will be different?

Your starter for 10: what will next winter's flu season be like? With the social distancing measures and shutdown of international travel, we're also reducing the ability of other viruses to spread.

Trinucleus
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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Trinucleus » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:12 am

Having a rethink about how wonderful freedom of movement is?

I've seen the suggestion that companies may realise that staff working from home is a lot cheaper than having a fancy office

Nobody needing to buy toilet rolls for the next three years

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gosling
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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by gosling » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:24 am

Trinucleus wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:12 am
Nobody needing to buy toilet rolls for the next three years
or pasta

I guess everyone will be queuing up for a flu jab. Maybe anti-vax will disappear.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Matatouille » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:58 am

Trinucleus wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:12 am
I've seen the suggestion that companies may realise that staff working from home is a lot cheaper than having a fancy office
I think that this is very much the case, and if this situation extends place over a protracted period it has real potential to become the new normal. Combined with teleconferencing for meetings and other functions like job interviews (particularly first interviews) might significantly reduce the need of people doing primarily office jobs to travel short or long distances. A real climate win.

Of course will these employers who ask employees to work significantly/entirely from home over the long term also compensate properly for the increased costs of this?

New costs added for employees:
  • They need to buy/rent a dwelling with that bit of extra space for a habitual ergonomic workstation suitable to their work and other needs
  • Most will need to heat their homes for far more hours each winter
  • Electricity costs will be higher
  • Many will need a faster internet connection for work than they would be able to afford for themselves, or without a download limit
    Will they need a landline phone, with its associated call charges
Costs removed/reduced for employees:
  • Transport costs
  • Buying meals at work (N/A if they usually brought home made meals from home)
I've worked from home for the past 18 months, and the only one of these costs that my employer has specifically contributed towards is my landline phone call charges (used 100% for work). This suits me because the majority of other costs were more than addressed or made n/a by my specific circumstances, but this will probably not be the normal experience.

And will the advantages this brings to people lead to an epidemic of working-age population loneliness, to go with our epidemic of older age loneliness? If the office workers see overall quality of life improvements, how do we bring similar improvements to those that do other types of jobs? We certainly don't want to dis incentivise the "doing" jobs society will always need.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by rockdoctor » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:37 pm

The big unknown is how the pandemic plays out in the US. If it is really, really bad, it may change their views on socialised medicine. It may even change their views on socialism in general.
Or not, since half of America seems to be impervious to thoughts or feelings

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by AMS » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:43 pm

With most European countries trying out some version of the state paying the salaries of private companies, the whole concept a national minimum income is going to get revisited.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Lew Dolby » Sat Mar 21, 2020 1:44 pm

and, post CoVid, a whole swathe of companies, which were struggling before the epidemic, going into administration - having taken the interest-free goverment loans and used them (as per Carillion) to plump up directors' pay and pensions.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by JQH » Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:51 pm

A rethink on what jobs are important and deserving of high pay:

ie medics, cleaners, supermarket workers, truck drivers, education workers, health and social care etc


Not hedge fund managers and other City spivs.
And remember that if you botch the exit, the carnival of reaction may be coming to a town near you.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:59 pm

Matatouille wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:58 am
Trinucleus wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:12 am
I've seen the suggestion that companies may realise that staff working from home is a lot cheaper than having a fancy office
I think that this is very much the case, and if this situation extends place over a protracted period it has real potential to become the new normal. Combined with teleconferencing for meetings and other functions like job interviews (particularly first interviews) might significantly reduce the need of people doing primarily office jobs to travel short or long distances. A real climate win.

Of course will these employers who ask employees to work significantly/entirely from home over the long term also compensate properly for the increased costs of this?

New costs added for employees:
  • They need to buy/rent a dwelling with that bit of extra space for a habitual ergonomic workstation suitable to their work and other needs
  • Most will need to heat their homes for far more hours each winter
  • Electricity costs will be higher
  • Many will need a faster internet connection for work than they would be able to afford for themselves, or without a download limit
    Will they need a landline phone, with its associated call charges
Costs removed/reduced for employees:
  • Transport costs
  • Buying meals at work (N/A if they usually brought home made meals from home)
I've worked from home for the past 18 months, and the only one of these costs that my employer has specifically contributed towards is my landline phone call charges (used 100% for work). This suits me because the majority of other costs were more than addressed or made n/a by my specific circumstances, but this will probably not be the normal experience.

And will the advantages this brings to people lead to an epidemic of working-age population loneliness, to go with our epidemic of older age loneliness? If the office workers see overall quality of life improvements, how do we bring similar improvements to those that do other types of jobs? We certainly don't want to dis incentivise the "doing" jobs society will always need.
I don't see working from home working out very well for people in shared housing (mostly younger people). Very difficult to keep things organised and yourself motivated if you have to work, rest and play in the same one room, which might not even have enough space for a desk.

Nevertheless, I absolutely can see companies making the change to remote working as a default, with the costs of securing co-working spaces and equipment falling to employees (as it already does for workers in the gig economy).

Unless there is strong resistance by unions etc., that is.
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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Matatouille » Sat Mar 21, 2020 5:44 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:59 pm
I don't see working from home working out very well for people in shared housing (mostly younger people). Very difficult to keep things organised and yourself motivated if you have to work, rest and play in the same one room, which might not even have enough space for a desk.

Nevertheless, I absolutely can see companies making the change to remote working as a default, with the costs of securing co-working spaces and equipment falling to employees (as it already does for workers in the gig economy).

Unless there is strong resistance by unions etc., that is.
Quite. For it to work out for society generally, rather than just employers specifically. Any reductions in overheads enjoyed by employers should be passed on to the employees who making that possible. If the increased remuneration and soft benefits of home working aren't enough to make it a practical and overall positive change for the employee, it shouldn't be done, and certainly shouldn't be required of them. Making that analysis robust and mandatory will be the hard bit.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by sideshowjim » Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:32 pm

US election in November cancelled.

Whole bunch of start-up firms doing body-temperature / "Virus spotting" wearables etc.

A re-thinking of worker rights, gig economy etc.

AMS
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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by AMS » Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:24 pm

sideshowjim wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:32 pm
A re-thinking of worker rights, gig economy etc.
I can see it being fertile ground for pushing the idea of a higher tax / higher social security Scandi-style economic model.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:45 pm

Almost nothing. Almost nothing will change.
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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Little waster » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:20 pm

After double digit percentage drops in the quarters when the virus was running amok the first "normal" quarter after the virus will see a record breaking amount of economic growth, this will be hailed as a triumph for Johnsonian economics and validation of the economic argument for Brexit.

Anybody pointing out our bumper Q4 was still 5% lower, due to the drag effect of Brexit, than the equivalent performance in the US and EU will be denounced as a diehard Remoaner.
Shamelessly recycling old jokes since 1952.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by sTeamTraen » Sun Mar 22, 2020 1:07 am

Little waster wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:20 pm
After double digit percentage drops in the quarters when the virus was running amok the first "normal" quarter after the virus will see a record breaking amount of economic growth, this will be hailed as a triumph for Johnsonian economics and validation of the economic argument for Brexit.
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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by plodder » Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:29 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:45 pm
Almost nothing. Almost nothing will change.
No, because opportunities for nimble businesses will exploit newly creaking gaps. Some of those businesses are already huge btw.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by bmforre » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:56 am

plodder wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:29 am
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:45 pm
Almost nothing. Almost nothing will change.
No, because opportunities for nimble businesses will exploit newly creaking gaps. Some of those businesses are already huge btw.
Is that "no" a confirmation of EPDs thesis that almost nothing will change or a refutation stating that the future belongs to nimble changemakers profting from creative destruction schumpeter-plodder style?

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Rich Scopie
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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Rich Scopie » Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:14 pm

Matatouille wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:58 am
Trinucleus wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:12 am
I've seen the suggestion that companies may realise that staff working from home is a lot cheaper than having a fancy office
I think that this is very much the case, and if this situation extends place over a protracted period it has real potential to become the new normal. Combined with teleconferencing for meetings and other functions like job interviews (particularly first interviews) might significantly reduce the need of people doing primarily office jobs to travel short or long distances. A real climate win.

Of course will these employers who ask employees to work significantly/entirely from home over the long term also compensate properly for the increased costs of this?

New costs added for employees:
  • They need to buy/rent a dwelling with that bit of extra space for a habitual ergonomic workstation suitable to their work and other needs
  • Most will need to heat their homes for far more hours each winter
  • Electricity costs will be higher
  • Many will need a faster internet connection for work than they would be able to afford for themselves, or without a download limit
    Will they need a landline phone, with its associated call charges
Costs removed/reduced for employees:
  • Transport costs
  • Buying meals at work (N/A if they usually brought home made meals from home)
I've worked from home for the past 18 months, and the only one of these costs that my employer has specifically contributed towards is my landline phone call charges (used 100% for work). This suits me because the majority of other costs were more than addressed or made n/a by my specific circumstances, but this will probably not be the normal experience.

And will the advantages this brings to people lead to an epidemic of working-age population loneliness, to go with our epidemic of older age loneliness? If the office workers see overall quality of life improvements, how do we bring similar improvements to those that do other types of jobs? We certainly don't want to dis incentivise the "doing" jobs society will always need.
A few years ago I worked primarily from home - 4 days a week. The company paid an allowance each month on expenses for "use of home office" to cover the likes of electricity, and also paid our whole broadband bill (if we sent a monthly bill) or a pretty reasonable allowance each month if we couldn't be arsed. The company did have an office for meetings etc, and weekly "developer days", but it was pretty basic. It worked pretty well, although I wouldn't want to do it 5 days a week.
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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Pucksoppet » Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:34 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:45 pm
Almost nothing. Almost nothing will change.
bl..dy optimist.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Pucksoppet » Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:47 pm

Little waster wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:20 pm
After double digit percentage drops in the quarters when the virus was running amok the first "normal" quarter after the virus will see a record breaking amount of economic growth, this will be hailed as a triumph for Johnsonian economics and validation of the economic argument for Brexit.

Anybody pointing out our bumper Q4 was still 5% lower, due to the drag effect of Brexit, than the equivalent performance in the US and EU will be denounced as a diehard Remoaner.
Well, yes. I was musing on this. All those economists looking forward to the grand experiment of leaving a trading bloc are now going to have to deal with a HUGE confounding factor, which will lead to endless argument over whether the changes are due to Brexit or due to COVID-19. Brexiteers will blame all the poor outcomes on COVID-19, and it will probably be extraordinarily difficult to tease out the reality.

I wonder if the transition period might get extended ('over the Prime Minister's dead body in a ditch') as a result of the epidemic, as everyone is too busy fighting alligators to drain that particular swamp. There is much speculation on this point. I do not expect the epidemic to be 'over' by the the current transition period end; but changes to the schedule need to be agree by 1st July, if I remember correctly.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Boustrophedon » Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:55 pm

After?
...zoologically improbable and/or terrifying to small children.

AMS
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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by AMS » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:01 pm

Not sure which of the threads to put this in, but an interesting read on the economic policy questions:

https://ryanavent.substack.com/p/apart-together

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by Pucksoppet » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:28 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:55 pm
After?
I don't think we are quite at Threads level yet. Even if the true mortality rate is 10%, and the entire population are infected, the 90% left will inherit working infrastructure, if not a working society. The economic dislocation would be enormous, which in itself might engender a breakdown of civil society and deaths as a result of that, rather than infection. But yes, there will be an after for a majority of people, even if I don't get to survive.

While the outlook is bleak, it's not nuclear war bleak, or supervolcano bleak, or local gamma ray burst/supernova bleak, or extinction event incoming asteroid bleak.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by bjn » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:46 pm

Pucksoppet wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:47 pm
Little waster wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:20 pm
After double digit percentage drops in the quarters when the virus was running amok the first "normal" quarter after the virus will see a record breaking amount of economic growth, this will be hailed as a triumph for Johnsonian economics and validation of the economic argument for Brexit.

Anybody pointing out our bumper Q4 was still 5% lower, due to the drag effect of Brexit, than the equivalent performance in the US and EU will be denounced as a diehard Remoaner.
Well, yes. I was musing on this. All those economists looking forward to the grand experiment of leaving a trading bloc are now going to have to deal with a HUGE confounding factor, which will lead to endless argument over whether the changes are due to Brexit or due to COVID-19. Brexiteers will blame all the poor outcomes on COVID-19, and it will probably be extraordinarily difficult to tease out the reality.

I wonder if the transition period might get extended ('over the Prime Minister's dead body in a ditch') as a result of the epidemic, as everyone is too busy fighting alligators to drain that particular swamp. There is much speculation on this point. I do not expect the epidemic to be 'over' by the the current transition period end; but changes to the schedule need to be agree by 1st July, if I remember correctly.
Except there will be a control over the channel.

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Re: What happens after Covid?

Post by dyqik » Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:52 am

sideshowjim wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:32 pm
US election in November cancelled.
You really think the Republican Party will hand the presidency to Nancy Pelosi*? Because that's what happens if there isn't a president elect by Jan 20th. Trump doesn't stay on automatically.

*Assuming she remains speaker of the house after states nominate Congressional representatives without elections.

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