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The ‘low touch economy’ concept has gained an important place in the global post-pandemic discussion as the new state of our society and economy in terms of occupational health and safety measures, new human behaviour and ongoing industrial changes.
Covid-19 has forced rapid changes, so universal adaptability – Agility – is one of the most important skills acquired as this of course affects efficient decision making. We have also seen total transformation in some businesses – e.g. a company that produced snow cannons for ski runs was able to modify its product to create disinfection machines for large spaces.
The post pandemic legacy includes:
increased importance of hygiene in the workplace, public and private life; new air filters (N95) and UV sanitation in transport and rooms; FORD has started working on the invention of self-cleaning materials for production of cars’ cockpits;
attitude change – people are increasingly willing to give up part of their freedom in exchange for security (development of tools for monitoring, tracking the movement of people, controlling and identifying their identity etc.);
rapid adaption to digital tools, in business, public and social life including products for young people to help old people to start using new technology e.g. Candoo Tech;
changes in the way B2C B2B products and services are delivered – e.g. in FMCG, pharmacy, sales of shoes and clothes thanks to virtual dressing rooms, remote customer management – selling real estate, furniture, various equipment, cars through the use of live video (virtual tours offering real estate, etc.). E-commerce giants like Amazon or Alibaba have created retail stores that are fully automated and equipped with various technologies such as electronic shelf label, radio frequency identification, computer vision, face and voice recognition and virtual fitting rooms;
workplace reorganisation: in manufacturing, construction – more prefabricated products to reduce human engagement and interaction; acceleration of automation, robotization and digitization.
remote working – increasing confidence in the effectiveness of home working – in conservative companies such as law firms, home working has so far been a privilege for seniors, increase in the number of days of home working for office workers and remote customer service. These effects result in savings on office space, lower maintenance and service costs for employees and clients etc. and reduce paper waste in public offices;
human-free service models (e.g the increase in the popularity of self-propelled vehicles; digitization in vehicle inspection methods, to avoid a customer visiting a mechanic in a garage; telemedicine + digital information centre for patients, medical results available in the cloud online);
new leadership (the integrator role) and new management methods by using new technology tools for tracking team work – greater frequency and precision of status reports; virtual meetings force greater discipline, effectiveness of work and the need to be well prepared; the growing importance of people performing the role of connectors, integrators, communication facilitator in the team;
accelerating the development of new employee competences – increasing the learning pace in general, flexibility, ability to adapt quickly, multitasking (working from home you have to do several tasks in office work distributed among specialized team members), better time management – recruiting employees with such competences and attitudes;
redesign of the supply chain – moving away from the globalization of supply and storage, increasing local stocks, sources of supply, moving away from the just-in-time principle. New forms of delivery of B2C products – e.g. electronic codes have replaced hand signatures; drone logistics controlled by IT applications has appeared;
changes in the financial products offer – e.g. new insurances, decrease in interest in hedging transactions due to lower predictability of the economy; creation of new financing sources;
investment trend, because the crisis creates opportunities, lower thresholds for entering certain business areas;
new attitude to risk management;
the increase in demand for legal services – in the context of new regulatory requirements; guarantees related to the substitution of human participation, etc., new safeguards for compliance with contracts;
moving away from sharing economy (e.g car sharing) as less safe for health;
the crisis creates opportunities for smaller, lower-cost and more agile companies to adapt more quickly to change and thus enter the market.