It goes without saying that COVID-19 that started out as a pandemic is going to have a ripple effect on our lives, careers, and the global economy as many non-essential businesses have been closed and people have been told to stay home and maintain social distancing.
While everyone is either taking online classes or working from home, we’ve seen a significant rise in the use of technology to stay in contact with our friends and coworkers across the globe. Video conferencing tools have also now become a household name. Many ODs are embracing telemedicine to see their patients and looking to incorporate it to their practice.
We’ll take a brief look at the long-term effects of coronavirus and what the future may hold for us once the crisis is averted and at least some form of normalcy is restored.
1. Work-from-Home Culture
The global pandemic has caused many companies all over the world to experiment with working from home for the first time ever. Optometrists have adapted to using Zoom and other telemed resources from their homes. Many ODs have transferred the phone lines to be constantly on call for their patients. Businesses that used to frown upon the idea of having even a single team member. Their entire workforce settle into the work-from-home culture. Balancing homeschooling and running a business has become the norm these last few months.W
2. Online Education
Since all the optometry schools have been closed, students are left to familiarize themselves with the challenges of online learning. Even though there are some glitches that need to be worked out, it won’t be long before online education is proven to be a viable means of education on its own. It may become an additional option for optometry schools in the future.
Social Distancing will create new online CE norms. Many major conferences have been canceled and many states have adapted new regulations to allow Optometrists to receive their online. Online CE will become the new norm in the industry as younger ODs prefer this option.
3. Health and Hygiene Awareness
If there’s one thing certain, it’s that we will emerge from this crisis a lot more informed about how to take proper care of our health and practice good hygiene to avoid contracting infectious diseases.
Many ODs have taking the necessary protocols to properly sanitize their offices. These protocols will continue for years after this pandemic passes.
4. Cash Reserves
Many ODs have struggled with the abrupt closing of their businesses. Not knowing when they will be open again has caused financial stress. Even with government programs, ODs have learned how important it is to have at least 3-6 months of cash reserves for their business. Each business is different, but to determine how much should be saved should be come from your monthly budget and projected cash flow.
Coronavirus has affected hundreds of thousands of people all over the globe and continues to have a growing impact on the global economy. Even though it’s not possible to accurately foresee the future in such uncertain times, Optometrists will certainly learn from this experience and change how they practice in the future.