By: Jack Kelly
The coronavirus started out as a health pandemic, but the outbreak will create long-lasting changes to the way we live and work.
Non-essential businesses were closed and government officials—at federal and state levels—told citizens to stay home. Schools were closed, forcing elementary to college students to remain housebound too. With nearly everyone working and studying at home, online video calls became the go-to medium to stay in touch with co-workers and friends. Prior to newly learned security breaches, Zoom became an overnight household name in video conferencing.
Now that companies recognize that employees can relatively easily work from home, executives are likely to encourage this behavior. The chief financial officer will tell her CEO about how much money will be saved by ditching pricey New York City offices and allowing employees to work at home. Human resources professionals will echo this sentiment and cite how much happier their workers are since they don’t have to endure a brutal two-to-three-hour round trip commute to and from work. They’ll also point out that employees can now watch over their young children, take care of older or sick family members, attend important events and enjoy a higher quality of life. It will be hard to bring everyone back from home once they’ve tasted freedom from the shackles of a commute and sitting in a cubicle for eight hours each day.
College tuitions are sky high and out of control. It will be prohibitive for many young adults if it keeps going this way. Only the very rich and poor—who receive financial aid—will be able to attend. The middle class kids will have to bear even larger debt loads that will weigh them down for the rest of their lives.
With the schools closed, we are conducting the biggest test of online teaching and homeschooling. Once the glitches are worked out, online education will have proven to be a viable means of education. While it currently exists, the usage will skyrocket. It will be used in conjunction with traditional in-person schooling. College costs could decline tremendously as more students will like via online methods.
It wouldn’t be surprising if many high school graduates decide to enter the trades. They’ll look at their parents who’ve lost their jobs and older siblings who are crushed with hundreds of thousands in debt, while toiling in dead-end jobs far beneath what college promised, and think there has to be a better way. Becoming a union electrician, carpenter, plumber or craftsperson offers steady work, decent pay and good benefits. If a person has an entrepreneurial streak, they could then open their own business. Since so many people have gone to college and avoided the trades, there is a dire need for these “blue-collar” workers.