We have explored numerous economic, cultural and wellness trends that will rise from COVID-19 in past issues, including less meat, less oil, more activism, a fiercer US/China rivalry, and more EU integration. Here are three wellness trends that will reshape the future: (1) dramatically less business travel, (2) permanent working-from-home (WFH), and (3) a surge in “behavioral” wellness technology.
- There will be fewer flights forever: A limited survey we conducted among global companies suggests that they will permanently cut business travel by half for three reasons: (a) videoconferences work “just fine,” (b) net 0 targets make it imperative to reduce air travel, and (c) it is a simple way to cut costs.
- For white-collar workers, WFH—at least in part and flexibly—will become a permanent feature of their lives. Episodic attendance of one or two days a week at workplaces means that many businesses will become “distributed” instead of being centralized. Will the 500,000 New Yorkers who’ve decamped from the city ever return?
- An obvious COVID trend is wellness technology. The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the interest in wellness-related technologies and fast-tracked their adoption. According to sources in venture capital, during the first half of 2020 in the US, behavioral health tech alone (i.e., focused on preventative care and healthy lifestyles) raised $588 million in venture funding.
Two well-tech sub-areas seem to benefit the most. (1) Products designed specifically for women. Women in the US, for example, spend 26% more per capita than men on healthcare and wellness products due to the fact that they suffer from a lower rate of employer-sponsored health insurance and also have longer life expectancies. (2) Partnerships between digital wellness providers and corporations/organizations seeking to offer mental and behavioral products and services to their employees or members.