21 KU scientists spoke about the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic

New normality after the pandemic

The reflections concern both the negative effects of COVID-19: "Since a huge disaster has occurred, it means that an even greater one can still happen, which you have to start taking into account while making your plans", and positive impulses: "Mother Nature changes nothing until she is forced to do so. Similarly, the social need for inertia is so great that it takes real crises, wars and major disasters to make a real difference". However, maintaining a balance between them requires "a kind of neutralisation of the negative consequences of turbulence by accumulating social and intellectual capital. For the former, the rule of law is fundamental, for the latter, it’s education and science".

A quick journey into the future

What changes caused by the pandemic will become our new normality? The answers given are an outline of a futuristic, yet quite recent, future.

Office buildings will remain empty for longer. "The total and partial closure of offices has put the future of office space rental and construction projects in doubt". Economic manuals will have to be rewritten as "the macroeconomists are facing a serious problem - their dogmas such as the claim that inflation is always a monetary phenomenon or the Philips curve are no longer reflected in our current reality".

Social economics will replace many commercial solutions. "The pandemic has forced a redefinition of the role of business in a society. Within a few weeks, thousands of initiatives have emerged, usually in the form of partnerships, which have provided support to healthcare facilities, doctors, patients, but also employees, their families, customers and suppliers. In many places self-help has emerged”.

New products and services will also become more popular: "virtual travel to remote locations, virtual retail and virtual events", "office automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning or extended reality".

Social and organisational changes

"People will get used to communicating exclusively or almost exclusively online, which will weaken real life relationships. Alienation in the workplace may also increase - employees may become more estranged". It looks as if "work will be of hybrid or rotational nature" and "working time will become more fluid and flexible". This also has its good points, because "remote, and therefore in practice, less controlled provision of services to a single employer will encourage the expansion of a circle of potential service recipients. As a result, the differences between >>Entrepreneurs without employees<< and >>Entrepreneurial employees<< will blur in the direction of forming a wide group of freelancers".

The pandemic will certainly force more organizational changes, as it already "showed us how big is the scale of completely unnecessary meetings. Even the biggest dinosaurs and technophobs have found out that a lot of things can be done by e-mail, jointly edited text or, ultimately, by video conference".

"Many concepts of >>slimmed-down<< management will be put to the test, because those companies that had some organisational slack have easily survived the crisis by avoiding radical reductions, suspension or cessation of activities".

Crisis of confidence

"This time the natural and medical sciences will suffer". It will not even help them that "big data give better estimates than traditional statistics collected by public services, and AI harnessed to medical research gives hope for a quick breakthrough. Even if it is only hope and breakthroughs will not happen or will come from >>old<< structures, this crisis will push us into the digital world".

"The pandemic also shows state egoisms, for example against the background of vaccine production. However, "the greatest threat is that the digital world will further influence the widespread and, thanks to technology, accessible obsession with control, expressed in the continuous optimization of activities and increasing efficiency by planning and measuring every activity and every second of our life".

In fact, we miss this old but new normality. "We start to think about our behaviour, often a consumer behaviour - quickly, a lot, without any empathy for another person, because after all, the most important thing for us was >>I<<. And suddenly it turned out that we don't want to live like that. We want to help others and to feel needed".

Authors of the quotes:

  • prof. dr hab. Andrzej K. Koźmiński
  • prof. ALK dr hab. Mariola Ciszewska-Mlinarič
  • prof. dr hab. Grzegorz Mazurek
  • prof. dr hab. Krzysztof Obłój
  • prof. dr hab. Lechosław Garbarski
  • prof. dr hab. Jerzy Cieślik
  • prof. dr hab. Dorota Dobija
  • prof. ALK dr hab. Aneta Hryckiewicz-Gontarczyk
  • prof. dr hab. Dariusz Jemielniak
  • prof. dr hab. Stanisław Jędrzejewski
  • prof. ALK dr hab. Paweł Korzyński
  • prof. dr hab. Dominika Latusek-Jurczak
  • prof. dr hab. Witold Morawski
  • prof. ALK dr hab. Aleksandra Przegalińska-Skierkowska
  • prof. ALK dr hab. Krzysztof Przybyszewski
  • prof. ALK dr hab. Gavin Rae
  • prof. ALK dr hab. Robert Rządca
  • prof. ALK dr hab. Bolesław Rok
  • dr Patrycja Sznajder
  • prof. ALK dr hab. Jacek Tomkiewicz
  • dr Piotr Wójcik

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