In mere months, the emerging COVID Economy has powerfully accelerated industries that meet urgent and unprecedentedly large needs. PanSafe, which caters to sanitation needs under pandemic conditions, and telework, which supports remote work, are two such breakout industries.
PanSafe: fuelled by employers and individual consumers alike
A quick survey of top-selling products (e.g., hand sanitizer) during the spring and summer of 2020 reveal the growing significance of the pandemic safety—PanSafe—industry. This encompasses both the personal protective equipment market, which protects workers against workplace hazards, as well as products like face-masks and sanitizers.
According to the research group Fortune Business Insights, the personal protective equipment market is projected to become a $92.86 Billion industry by 2027, with a CAGR of 7.4%. (It was valued at just $52.43 billion in 2019.) This sector is driven by employers seeking to avoid lost production time and save costs on employee compensation and medical expenses. Demand is, unsurprisingly, especially high in frontline health care.
Of course, in addition to employers seeking to reduce their liability, individual consumers are fuelling PanSafe’s ascendency. In a survey by Grand View Research, 77% of respondents reported a preference for using hand sanitizer, rather than just relying on hand washing. Forward-looking manufacturers and retailers are catering to discriminating protective face mask shoppers with an array of stylish products. As of July 2020, Googling “fashion face masks” will yield hundreds of millions of search results.
Currently, demand for PanSafe products is outstripping production. The human resources firm Randstad reports that shortages are so acute, manufacturers from unrelated sectors (e.g., brewing, cosmetics) are retooling facilities to create in-demand products.
Telework: an arrangement with staying power
According to Ranstand, work in the fields of customer service (e.g., call centers), telecommunications, and technology/IT is surging. All of these fields support individuals to work remotely from home, a trend that appears to have staying power in the COVID Economy.
As the pandemic has so forcefully illustrated, much work can in fact be done remotely. In fact, US economists Jonathan Dingel and Brent Neiman have found that 37% of American jobs can be done at home. Australian researchers Mehmet Ulubasoglu and Kursat Onder report similar findings, claiming that 39% of all jobs in Australia – 41% full-time and nearly 35% of part-time – are conducive to remote work.
Furthermore, remote work is not only possible—it may hold a number of unanticipated benefits. A survey conducted by the start-up network Founder’s Forum provides fascinating insights into the experience of workers transitioning into teleworking arrangements. Hundreds of founders and teams revealed that:
- More than 50% of respondents reported being more productive from home.
- 55% of respondents reported working longer hours.
- While respondents enjoyed increased flexibility, life-work balance, and an end to commuting, they missed opportunities to spontaneously collaborate and the ability to create work-life boundaries.
- Most startups are currently reworking policies to accommodate for arrangements such as 3-5 days of remote work a week.
If remote working indeed becomes a new norm, demand will surely increase for solutions that enhance its benefits and address its challenges. Ranstand’s previously mentioned report on COVID-related job trends indicates that this demand is already high: “With a large portion of the Canadian workforce migrating to working from home, help desk, networking and data security professionals have been working around the clock to ensure everyone is able to access the tools they need and work from home securely.”
PanSafe & Teleworking Opportunities: supporting a new normal
With a COVID-19 vaccine nowhere in sight and the promise of an increased frequency of global pandemics in the future, PanSafe promises to be an enduringly important industry. Likewise, the viability and desirability of remote working is paving the way for telework to become a new industry norm.
In this environment, opportunities abound for innovators. For example, if the experiences of Founder’s Forums’ respondents offer any indication of emerging markets, then solutions for problems like maintaining work-life boundaries are needed. Could these solutions arise from the fields of psychology, interior design, technology—or industries previously unimagined?