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New Normal: Industries Prepare for the Post-COVID Market

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE 

“Commercial real estate remains in flux. As the vaccine rolls out with the government touting availability for all adults by the end of May, companies are starting to consider what to do post-COVID. Sectors like industrial will remain hot and highly occupied. Speculative development will spike to help with demand. Office will see tenants return — either sticking with short-term leases as they try to determine their space needs or taking advantage of locking in today’s rates. Cash flow will normalize in multi-family as individuals return to work, and pricing on apartments will remain strong. Restaurants will return in force as pent-up demand fills seats. Malls will continue to require rethinking and repositioning, while strip centers will continue to adapt to service needs that can’t be filled online. As we roll into 2022, we will have greater clarity on the landscape in commercial real estate and a return to normalcy, whatever our “new normal” may be.”

  • ANDY GUTMANPRESIDENT, FARBMAN GROUP 

HOSPITALITY 

“COVID-19 devastated the hospitality industry worldwide but offered us important lessons should we face another crisis of this magnitude.

Being nimble and adaptable enough to quickly change our business model was critical for survival. While the travel and meetings industry had playbooks for many crisis scenarios, a worldwide health emergency certainly wasn’t expected. Still, hospitality partners quickly pivoted into producing virtual meetings after in-person convention business in Detroit evaporated. While the meetings didn’t allow for intimate business relationships, they did allow for business continuity, communication, and information sharing.

In-person meetings will be resurrected as soon as it is considered safe, with possibly hybrid components as long as attendees are willing to engage. Attendee demand will drive whether they remain. Meetings and conventions will also make enhanced safety protocols a standard practice going forward.

Leisure travel will return as soon as restrictions on travel are lifted. The pent-up demand is enormous. A recent study of traveler intention found that 81 percent of respondents are planning a trip in the next six months, up from 65 percent just two months ago.”

  • CLAUDE MOLINARIPRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, DETROIT METRO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 

The pandemic impacted every industry and business differently based on a number of factors including location, business models, workforce composition, work spaces and the product or services provided. In many cases it accelerated the utilization of technology and remote work practices that might have taken much of the upcoming decade to evolve. It elevated issues of equity and workforce composition.

All industries are bracing for the “next normal” as the pandemic will leave no sector unaffected. Each industry is looking ahead to how they can adapt as increased clarity emerges on consumer demand and how it will impact their business. Executives across industries are identifying the underlying lessons and innovations to help them succeed in 2021 and beyond in the post-COVID marketplace.

CYBERSECURITY 

“Cisco has always been in the business of connecting people and organizations through technology. But through COVID-19, our work had special significance in helping other businesses stay in business, by securely enabling them to work from anywhere via Webex, Duo, etc.

As customers’ expectations have evolved quickly around products, services, and experiences anytime and on-demand, digital transformation has brought customers’ worlds (and data) into businesses with new burdens around security and compliance. But the pandemic also radically turned employee and IT environments inside-out, with people, devices, and applications no longer restricted to corporate offices. In addition to new security risks from this increased attack surface, this has also reset expectations for many about the future of work.

The new normal for business requires IT and security to maximize the flexibility, agility, and resilience of business for employees and customers, and their extended ecosystem of Internet-enabled partners, contractors, suppliers, and vendors. It’s a brave new world out there.”

  • DUG SONGCHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER, CISCO SECURE 

SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT 

“The pandemic highlighted our industry’s genius for innovation under pressure, but also revealed the urgency to push further, enabling more of our essential work to be performed remotely. As we move toward our next normal, innovations will take root in the development of the remote manufacturing floor, blending our ability to collaborate virtually with the Internet of Things, bringing virtual/augmented reality technologies together to create remote manufacturing.

In-person workers realized that their lack of a stay-at-home option was accepted as reality while office work that could be performed off-site was quickly accommodated, and we must resolve this disparity to build a more equitable workplace, where we retain skilled workers who aren’t forced to choose between caring for their families and performing their jobs efficiently.

If this seems like a stretch, remember, especially in manufacturing: If you’re not looking ten years down the line, you’ll always be ten years behind me.”

  • LISA LUNSFORDCO-OWNER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, GS3 GLOBAL; BOARD CHAIR, MICHAUTO