China's economy is the second largest in the world, and with America's economy so beholden to it for supply and stability, the affects of COVID 19 reach far beyond the Chinese borders. As the virus spreads internationally, sectors across the world brace for dips in profit. Things will remain uncertain for weeks to come as we wait to see the full impact of the spread of the virus, but for now, these eight industries have been affected the most by the pandemic.

Luxury Goods

Chinese consumers account for "more than a third of the value of so-called personal luxury goods purchases, which includes apparel, beauty and jewelry," according to Financial Times. Joëlle de Montgolfier, director of Bain's luxury practice, said the coronavirus could have a "double whammy effect" on the luxury sector. "Not only will Chinese people buy less domestically during the key New Year shopping season, they will also have to cancel trips abroad, during which they often buy luxury goods," she said.

Poultry

The wholesale price of chicken has dropped as much as 70% in India specifically due to rumors that the virus can be transmitted through eating poultry. Similar drops in the value of poultry have been reported all over the globe, particularly in countries with many cases of COVID-19.

Airlines

According to the Guardian, "more than 85,000 flights touching China have been canceled in the three weeks since the outbreak closed Wuhan airport on 23 January." While these cancellations have the largest impact on airlines, there has also been a notable decrease in flying globally—not just to China—because of customers fears of contracting the disease. "If people take a view they shouldn't be traveling or shouldn't go to a place or be on planes with people who might have been to certain places, they're less likely to travel," said Andrew Charlton, a Geneva-based aviation analyst. "It's going to have an impact on passenger numbers."

Automobile

Wuhan (the center of the COVID 19 outbreak) itself is a major hub for the automobile industry, particularly for European carmakers. Renault, Peugeot, Volkswagen, BMW, and Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, have still not reopened factories run with Chinese partners. These delays could be catastrophic to the car industry because "carmakers hold very little stock at their assembly operations, instead relying on just-in-time supply chains that see parts delivered to the assembly plant hours or even minutes before required in the factory."

Oil

The Chinese were responsible for the majority of the growth in global demand for oil last year, but the International Energy Agency expects demand to fall in coming months for the first time in more than ten years thanks to the far reaching affects of COVID 19.

Cruise Vacations

Cases of COVID 19 have been confirmed or suspected on upwards of 5 cruise ships so far, and thanks to the close quarters of these ships, confirmation of the disease results in infected ships being quarantined at sea. Obviously, that makes it an unappealing time to book a cruise, and to make matters worse for the cruise industry the US State Department just put out a statement saying: "U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship." To try to bolster flagging bookings, many cruise lines are now offering major discounts and lenient cancellation policies.

Leisure

Coronavirus fears have already canceled SXSW, a major American music festival, and it's likely that more festivals will be called off in coming months. The music industry isn't the only leisure activity being affected. Macau, a popular destination for gambling off the coast of China, reported an 80% dip in visitors from China compared to the same day last year. As COVID 19 continues to spread, it's likely that casinos, concert venues, sporting events, theme parks, movie theaters, and other destinations for leisure activities will close their doors across the world.

Banks

Analysts expect the virus to have a major impact on world banks thanks to rapid slowdown in loan growth and a reduction in fee income. Many banks are also operating below normal standards because of the shuttering of many offices across China and other infected cities. For example, Swiss bank UBS told its workers in Hong Kong to stay home for at least two weeks if they have travelled to China recently.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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