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COVID-19 has had a swift and devastating impact as an immediate health crisis subsequently triggering an economic crisis and unexpected disruptions to the way we live and work. But once we come out of this challenging and uncertain time, how will we recover? Will we go back to business as usual, or will we see enduring changes at the individual, organisational and government levels?

We see four stages that outline the path through recovery:

1) Reaction. All organisations are simultaneously impacted as professional and personal lives are disrupted. Volatility and uncertainty permeate society as the primary focus is on limiting damage to lives and livelihoods as we weather the unprecedented storm.

2) Resilience. Controls loosen as virus spread is contained and/or a vaccination or cure is available. Consumer demand begins to return but is constrained by lost wages, investment losses and recession fears.

3) Recovery. Anxiety passes and hiring, investment and consumer sentiment cautiously improve. Recovery paths for organisations will vary based on ability to limit damage from the Reaction stage, length and severity of recession, post COVID-19 industry demand and willingness to adapt.

4) New Reality. A number of enduring shifts will remain post recovery as many learnt behaviours born out of the crisis will become central to the new normal.

Our New Reality

The onset of COVID-19 has exposed existing weak links across industries, government and in our economy. The urgency and importance of addressing these weak links has radically shifted and many decisions and discussions have been brought forward. We expect to see a previously unimaginable boost to the simultaneous transformation of industries and society.

Our predictions cover key themes that provide context to the changing environment that makes up our New Reality:

These themes were selected by comparing emerging trends before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Within each theme, we engaged KPMG professionals to develop hypotheses on what a post-COVID-19 world might look like.

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