Covid-19 and the dawning of the new age by John Sephton

In these modern times of medical advances, internet and moon landings we are now in the era of a worldly communal disease, Covid-19. This virus has taken centre stage and is dancing amongst the masses, taking a fancy to anything it contacts, and isn’t discriminating about who it kills. This is quite simply a world event that has everybody working together to find a vaccine before economies collapse, having to keep supplementing the home stayers to ease the spread of disease.

As time progresses the medical community finds out more about this virus and how to deal with it. In the UK, the government has been giving daily updates on the deaths and infection rates, and making decisions based on the science and has asked communities to stay indoors, even paying for them to do so. However, there are different strains on the public that limit their time indoors from living space, medical conditions to anti-government types that believe that this is a hoax and caused by 5G. With the advent of the 5G network roll out and the virus taking off, it is easy to see why some people blame the network, but the science of 5G technology completely negates the possibility of it being the catalyst that started it.

In this unprecedented time for the UK and its various businesses, there has been a realisation that the internet can be used for more homeworking for employees and the cost savings of doing so could be worth investigation. The burden on travel infrastructure could be lessened, but the UK sails toward uncharted waters on a ship that is only just about buoyant.

The burden on the National Health Service is what has prompted the action for the stay at home campaign, to ‘flatten the infection curve’. Currently five weeks into the clampdown, and according to the government there seems to be a glimmer of hope that we could get back to business as usual, but there is no definitive time to do this.  But the casualties from the front-line medical professions are rising every day. Some already losing their lives. All frontline workers, shops workers, delivery drivers, security professionals, government officials are fair game to this virus and the rest of us have to stay at home.

Viewing the Public Health England website, the deaths and cases as of 14th April 2020 are 88,621 confirmed Covid19 cases with 11,329 deaths which is around 12% of cases resulting in deaths. The deaths were initially following a pattern of people with underlying health conditions but now has progressed on to otherwise healthy individuals, young and old. According to the New Scientist website there are two strains of the virus, the L type which they believe derived from the older S type virus. The L type virus they claim is the more aggressive of the two types, and they are working on viable tests to establish if you have had the virus or not. The symptoms can be as mild as a sniffle or as broad as death, but getting to that point you will suffer extreme pneumonia, affecting the lungs, and struggle to breathe without the aid of a ventilator.

Looking forward into what may occur when the government lift the restrictions could be a nation that is not ready to venture into populated areas. The government may lift the restrictions but will the people be ready for reintegration with each other? The lasting damage of this pandemic could be prevalent across the rest of the year where people will not travel, will not socialise, and will not be ready to be dealing with customers in close proximity. Every seasonal sniffle will be seen as Covid19, any vaccine they rush to bring out may be met with contempt but people will have to weigh up the chances of not being vaccinated vs the potential side effects of being vaccinated.

Businesses large and small will have undergone a forced transformational change where working from home will be seen as more acceptable, and become the normal way of business. Office spaces may become vacant as employers embrace the hot desking ways and become of ‘no-fixed abode’. Internet usage will rise and the need for a speedier and more stable internet core will grow in importance. This will mean that 5G is here to stay, you may burn down the towers but like snakes of Medusa they will rise again. It is not this article’s suggestion that Covid-19 was released to bed in a wider, stable, faster internet across the world but now the virus has been, the business world has seen what can work. In the times of cost cutting and businesses attempting to be greener, this point in time may mean that travel costs are down, expenses will be down, the cost and frequency of doing business face to face will be reduced and the UK’s carbon footprint on will decline. This would be a win-win situation for all those involved especially as the less people you have commuting in and out of major cities, the less likely this virus will have another chance to regain the sort of foothold it has now. In the future there could be a boom in mobile office solutions provided by the likes of London Chamber of Commerce, WeWork and Regis to accommodate the transient workers that will potentially come out of this situation and employer’s new preference of working. 

The result of the average person benefiting from this enforced lockdown is that parents can watch their children grow up, people can spend more time at home with family instead of 60-70 hrs a week working away and missing family milestones. There could be more sense of community within towns and villages as people will get to know each other once again, and couples reconnecting but this could be just a romantic notion, though something good needs to come out of the dire situation that everybody is facing at the minute. As with everything in life there are the ones that will benefit and the ones which will not so much. Those who will not benefit again are the front line workers, NHS staff, security staff, shop workers, delivery drivers who haven’t got the option of home working, and there could be a reduction in front line retail and security workers if more offices and shops close their doors for good. While this is a negative thought, it would be good to remind ourselves that the underrated and understated champions of the front line remain the same, and it is with hope that a renewed respect would have been created.

Employers of staff on the front line will need to review the hours that their teams are working and insist on a continental pattern of work with a higher pay rate. Now that Covid-19 has shown us a new direction in the business stream it is now down to UK businesses to demonstrate their understanding of true agile working.

The effects of Covid-19 are far and wide, it has changed the working demographic for everybody in the world. What is has shown us unfortunately is that life is very fragile, though many of us take it for granted. As a population we need to listen to the guidelines set out for us and stay indoors, no unnecessary trips, and practice social distancing. It is very much in doubt that we will turn into the future which the Demolition Man film portrayed; but we will appreciate what we had before and the freedom of movement we previously enjoyed.

Thank you to all the frontline workers who are out there everyday providing the services to keep the UK ticking over and protecting everybody’s livelihoods. It is hoped that moving forward from this tragic state of affairs, that the security industry will be recognised as a professional vocation and be rewarded as such.

Through every adversity brings us closer to prosperity, every challenge brings us to closer together

John Sephton Bsc (hons), FSyI, M.ISRM

John is a friend of The Professional Security Officer magazine and works hard to improve standards across the industry as a writer, mentor and in his role as a Board Director of The Security Institute. Recognised for his efforts he has risen through the ranks at Axis Security, and is currently an Account Director and has recently been elevated to ‘Fellowship’ level with the Security Institute