Apr 19

There are a lot of articles predicting that many companies will continue the work from home experiment long after Corona is under control. Here’s three of the more interesting ones:

I was predicting in 2017-2019 BC (Before Corona) that commercial space, other than warehousing, manufacturing or social engagement, was a risky investment. Corona simply accelerated the move to remote business.  My daughter has worked from home for AT&T for probably close to ten years,

If this was s 70s pandemic remote work would not have occurred, nor the shut down. We did not have a capacity for it. And we would be talking about it on a Party line Yea, it was a real thing when I was a kid. 

I was having a conversation with a friend about this. He asked “Are there any other sectors that will (May) win you’re thinking about?”

My reply (edited to make it more readable)

There is only one in R.E.  Residential.  You can’t sleep in a virtual bed, in a virtual house.  You can’t work from home, without a home.  While many business properties can be replaced with virtual assets, a house cannot.

The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.

Warren Bennis ( ~ 1989)

Boil it down to the essential.  To live you need air, water, food, shelter, clothing, companionship and … the internet. 😉  

Provide any of those and you will both survive and be very well regulated by the government.  And of course entertainment.  Without entertainment and engagement, why live?   Entertainment is music, travel, hiking, bars, boats, reading, TV… and a huge amount of other things,  People often would rather spend on entertaining themselves than the “necessities” making that more of a necessity than the necessities. 

Air is freely available.  If it isn’t, nothing else matters. Water is a municipal service, a well, or a river.  Food can be delivered from unmanned warehouses via internet orders.  Today I get my food from InstaCart and have not been inside a store since 3/18  Clothing can be purchased online. Companionship can be provided in Zoom meetings, online chats, video church, FaceTime, etc. 

This pretty much shelter and entertainment. Entertainment has changed as people are hesitant to go to the movies, restaurants, and not so much bars and casinos.  We watched the new release of Trolls this past weekend on TV for $20.  Going to a movie theater would have cost twice as much, used twice as much time, and exposed us to an infinite amount of unknown germs. Remember back when you were young, unattached and looking for a mate?  That will exist for as long as humans do.   It will be the driving force behind social gatherings, bars etc., well into the years A.D. (After Disease)

Shelter though is not replaceable. It may change form, and ownership models, but it remains a basic need.

People want their own space.  Even at home, I’m sure you want your own space, be that a desk, a lazy boy recliner or the left side of the couch. This is regardless of how much you like/love your spouse, offspring and or roommates.  We are by nature both communal and territorial. 

So if I vote for one, it is shelter, followed closely by entertainment and social venues But entertainment and similar venues are risky as they will be the first to be closed when the virus strikes.

So those of us in residential are lucky. But we need to survive the next six to 24 months.*

*Modeling study suggests 18 months of COVID-19 social distancing, much disruption.

Opportunities will abound for those that see opportunities. Failure will abound for those who see only failure. 

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