Chapter 66 Confinement

It may look strange that I talk about COVID-19 in my leukaemia chapters but in reality due to AML I am part of the people at risk from an immunity perspective having had a transplant and being diabetic. Also if you remember in Chapter 6 I detail the constraints coming from the allogenic bone marrow transplant. If you read this chapter, you will understand quickly that I lived confined for one full year i.e. all 2010.

Of course I would never wish anyone to go through where I have been but I must admit it gives me an edge when I talk to friends for whom it is already a problem after a couple of days. it is really difficult to live like this for a long period of time without support.

Think about keeping in touch with family and friends. Technology can help you a lot nowadays but don’t forget older people so give them a call everyday! We also keep in touch with our older son on a daily basis as he is in The UK where the rules become also quite drastic for the good of the population.

It is important to stay healthy and for this, you still need to move one way or another! Most countries still allow to walk around the block… or spend time in your garden… we are not in full confinement yet i.e. as they did it in China. What is important is the social distancing. If you work from home, try to balance work with relaxing as you could easily sink into work. This includes eating healthy food, avoiding snacking. If your house/apartment can allow it, try to get a specific space for work so that you can segregate work and family.

Another quick one, trust only official news… not all the potential fake news you read in social media and please do not forward or share all you read. Would like to feel responsible if someone gets infected because (s)he read what you communicated? Be purposeful and critical about what you send.

For sure there will be a before and an after COVID-19 like I had for my leukaemia. It is a great opportunity to rethink our ways of working, shopping, communicating, eating, relaxing, in short: living!

We can start evaluating new business models allowing more flexibility at having more jobs that can be delivered from home for instance. This one is always a challenge as you have to be ready to live with less face-to-face interactions and also have a dedicated room to work. Two main inconveniences for this and they almost contradict each other i.e. you need self-discipline to focus on the deliverables but you also have to be careful not keep working too long hours. Indeed flexibility may also say that it applies for colleagues, customers or suppliers as well. So, it makes it also a risk that you may be solicited 24/7 and you will have to mitigate this with clear communication and discipline. It will then of course put some stress on employers to provide the right environment to their remote employees to avoid asking to work on the corner of the kitchen table and enable balanced mental health. It also has to be said that not everybody can do this as they need more support and assurance through face-to-face engagements, this has also to be taken into account so that we reach the right balance and inclusiveness. We then also have to think on the impact on our infrastructure to get in an affordable way high speed internet everywhere so that this type of flexibility takes place.

We already started to do on-line shopping for years but clearly we can now expect to get more and faster trend to increase the volume of that distribution channel. There is no doubt that not only people are getting more and more used to it but they also now trust the big brands and on-line payment methods. Being confined will make this grow as I truly think that we may face an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. These events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the widespread insistence they were obvious in hindsight i.e. what we call a black swan event. This comes together with our current interconnected ways of trading and interacting in global networks. So, not only we’ll see more local productions for essential products but hopefully without protectionism so that we can leverage the best of both models and let the consumers decide. Having said that, from a customer perspective, sure confinement even if not full, will strengthen the on-line shopping behaviour and set in as the new normal. The main consequence will also, of course, be the way the distribution channels will adapt themselves to remain relevant e.g. retailers, franchises, malls, shopping centres, etc… we can expect lots of changes in that area. The way we consume, we want to consume, will drive this change.

Think about a new normal making you work remotely and where there little number of retail shops in your neighbourhood… for sure it will impact the way we communicate at work, with the family or our communities… that would, I think, drive us to prioritise how do we communicate with whom. That will lead us then to evaluate what communication channel to use in which circumstances. While from a work perspective we are now underway for some years and working from home in some specific roles is getting in a mature stage, family may be a different topic. Families are diverse and it implies different age ranges including elderlies who are potentially not even connected to the internet and so limited to phone calls and face-to-face interactions. In this case, creativity may become a necessity to stay in touch with most of our relatives, video calls would work in most cases and I guess there is a great potential market to get our (great) (grand) parents to digital solutions in an easy way including simple 1st line support. For our friends, I think that as much as we will try to meet as much as possible, face-to-face but now that we get used to products like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Messenger, etc… this behaviour will be there to stay so that we keep ourselves Black Swan ready.

Aaaaaah, food! You all know I am a foodie and for me it is always a mis of food, atmosphere, deco, service i.e. a perfect mix. Now having a peak for Deliveroo, Uber eats, etc… will also drive a new habit of consuming at home even if not confined, we may go to get food delivered instead of going out or getting a chef to cook at home. In my honest opinion, I think it is a shame if we move into that direction as the gap between gastronomic restaurant and the ones affiliated to home delivery may increase and potentially put the current average restaurants at risk. That would mean that this sector will also to re-invent their new normal and move to more flexibility like smaller dining room, more space dedicated to takeaway and home delivery so that you can cope with all delivery channels and adapt to the new demand shape. That will definitely be a sector to watch as it is a first line and get direct feedback about how the society changes. I must say that I hope we’ll still have a nice offer of nice places to visit as it for me part of our culture and a projection of our way of life.

Yes I mentioned relaxing as a new normal as well. I’d like to see what the impact will be on live entertainment, cinemas, gyms, theme parks, etc… after mid to longer term confinement? How long will it take for people to feel comfortable to get back there? What will be the result of weighting dinner in a restaurant followed by a concert versus food delivered at home before a video on demand? I guess that behaviour will be driven by how long a confinement will be applied… but for sure there will be a long lasting change in our day-to-day life. Another potential big impact will be the travel and tourism sector. How long will it take to people to risk going in a country for which we are not sure in all transparency about contagion risks? Based on current economical impact on airlines, which one will stay or disappear? What will be the new pricing policies? So this vicious circle is tough to break here and I guess there will be another wave of merging and acquisitions in that sector but will that keep prices low for the consumers? In this case the new normal may increase the gap between social classes and move back travel as a luxury which by the way may also help decreasing the pollution.

Be strong, stay at home and safe

Categories: AML

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