What to expect in 2021 and beyond:
We are a few hours from 2021. What a year 2020 has been! We have had a total lockdown of the economy. Many lost jobs and sources of income. Some businesses went under and never came back to life. Some, and most people I know, lost their lives. What a sad year!
Will 2021 be the same? What exactly can we expect in 2021 and beyond? Now before we go any further, I should throw a disclaimer here. I am not a prophet or a fortune-teller. I am just making comments based on observations and hunches. So, do not sue me if anything of what I will say does not happen.
Home or office work?
Research shows that people who work at home work more hours than those that work at the office. They work 1.4 more days than those that work from offices. Research also shows that working from home increased productivity massively for some companies in 2020. Also, imagine the amount of time saved by not being in traffic to and from work.
However, a few people I have spoken to report feeling alone while working at home. Most of them missed the office. Therefore, my view is that we will see a lot more flexible working, where companies will give their staff the option to choose when and where to work from. Also, we will see more co-working spaces coming up and these will move closer to where people stay. If you do not believe go and check what is happening in Century City and Woodstock in Cape Town.
Not so long ago I wrote about why I sold my car. Now that I do not have a car anymore, I am so comfortable walking or taking a bus to where I want to go without thinking about what other people will say or think about me. During the lockdown, we all parked our fast and flashy cars, didn’t we? Because of that did we see any difference between those with cars and those without?
We have seen the same happening with video calling. We are now comfortable taking a video call from our bedrooms, kitchens or other parts of the house. We have had kids hijack our calls and be cool about it because everyone understood that we have a life outside of work.
I think we will continue to see more of this in 2021, with people being more authentic than we have been in the last ten years.
The collapse of marriages:
Some research shows that more people feel free and liberated being single than when they are married. Some other research suggests that people prefer short term relationships where they are not fully committed to long term relationships because these have commitment issues.
According to reports, divorce rates increased significantly in China after the lockdown. In Saudi Arabia, they had a 30% increase over lockdown. In South Africa, the increase was over 20% since level 4 lockdown.
My view and prediction are that this number will increase. More people will see less value in marriage in 2021 and beyond.
My other predictions:
- Civil unrest as people protest about jobs or fighting for more social grants. This will be exacerbated by automation, AI, internet of things…and the lack of desire to upskill in certain demographics and geographical areas of the country.
- The fight against racism will grow. We have already seen the growth of the #blacklivesmatter campaign, growth of #Alllivesmatter campaigns. In South Africa, we have already seen the EFF challenging some historical racists institutions. We have also seen some progressive white and black people speak against all forms of racism. Whether or not we will win the fight against racism remains to be seen. But, my view is integration and more awareness will bring racism to lower or undetectable levels in the next ten years.
- You already know this one. Electric and self-driving cars will become a reality.
- We will see the likes of Amazon making deliveries using drones at night.
- The gig economy will grow and people will start taking more than one job and doing more than one job a day.
- We will see an increase in more online stock, forex, options day and trend traders. Some will even quit jobs to focus on this as a main source of income. But, with online trading, some risks arise. You have read about MTI. We may have a few more of those in the future. If you do it, find licensed traders or do it yourself. Do not sell your life to third parties.
- Cryptocurrencies will finally be regulated and may even be accepted as a formal legal tender.
- A vaccine for COVID-19 will be found. My view, and do not quote me on this because I do not have facts to support this opinion, is that Covid-19 may disappear but those that have made the vaccines will make us believe it is still around so that they can recover their costs and make profits. Disclaimer: do not go around saying, I encourage people not to take the vaccines.
- Accountants who have not made a switch to cloud or advisory may now be left behind and get forgotten altogether.
- Similarly, companies who have been reluctant to adopt new technologies may finally be forgotten about as they may have already lost competitive advantages.
- Conclusion of the commission of inquiry into state capture and high profile arrests will happen in 2021.
- The first commercial trip to Mars will happen in 2021.
- A truly shared economy anyone? My view is that this will become a reality in the next 10 to 20 years from now.
- Blockchain will help us reduce transaction fees and making payments faster by eliminating the middle man. This is already happening. But, it will even grow as more and more people will adopt and make use of digital currencies.
- Lastly, we may have more epidemics in the future. Like covid, they will hit us unprepared and unaware.
Do you have predictions of your own or maybe disagree with me? Let me hear about it in the comment section.