“ACROSS THE VALLEY – Navigating the Post Pandemic Landscape”. A Message from Gostynski and Partners

We are living through extraordinary and challenging times. At present, our focus must remain on the health and safety of our families, colleagues and wider community. Never before have individual actions had such far reaching impacts on everyone. While progress has been made in managing the pandemic and its serious consequences and there are signs of pending relaxation in ‘lock-downs,’ in the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, ‘this is still a time for extreme caution and not exuberance.”

Many uncertainties exist but we can be sure with time and great effort the pandemic will eventually recede and an as yet, ‘unwritten future’ will emerge. At Gostynski and Partners we are working diligently to anticipate, define and wherever possible, plan for this future.

The analogy of standing on the side of a deep valley or chasm is appropriate. We still must navigate our way through the steep depths and shadows, and the human and economic costs will be both tragic and immense. However, we make this journey in the confidence and knowledge that there is another side – including a landscape of opportunities – and we will reach the sunlit slopes beyond.

Although we are in uncharted territory, and our shared destination presents many known and unknown risks and obstacles, we must take a rational approach driven by reason, history and a long term focus. We will get through this crisis as we have with others such as World Wars and economic depressions, but we will emerge into a very different place with radically altered priorities and behaviours.

The COVID-19 Pandemic will undoubtedly alter the legal landscape because of its far reaching indeed, global economic and social impacts. With this in mind, it is important to highlight several influential issues:

– Healthcare: The crisis has exposed strengths and many weaknesses of current health-care systems and there is clearly now an urgent need for systemic reforms, greater (not less!) international coordination and preventative actions for the potentially more deadly viruses that will certainly come. In many respects, COVID-19 has been a deadly ‘wake up call,’ dire warning and dress rehearsal.

– Globalization: For decades the process of globalization has spurred growth both in domestic and international markets as business became more agile and mobile, inter-connected and co-dependent. But we have now seen vulnerabilities and core weaknesses especially in transportation systems and globally dispersed supply chains. We should anticipate a move back towards more streamlined, domestic and local manufacturing and production capabilities. Business as usual will for the foreseeable future, necessitate some business unusual!

– Consumer Behaviour: While people are by nature, social creatures that crave proximity and wider contacts, we have now witnessed how in a short time, physical contact and closeness have turned from a comfort and opportunity to a source of risk and danger. While many have been slow to adopt new communication technologies, on-line activities such as home working and schooling, distance learning and training, delivery of diverse retail and specialist services, which we once discretionary are now viewed as essential. As the pandemic recedes we will increasingly recognize the value of ‘online alternatives’ that served us well during the crisis and these may become more mainstream offering new opportunities to grow business and save time and money.

– Competitive Landscape: The globalized economy has never been an even landscape of risks and opportunities and it appears this crisis will only make the competitive landscape even more rugged and tough to navigate. While some businesses such as health care suppliers and communication/online technologies will prosper, more sensitive sectors such as energy, manufacturing with complex supply chains, airlines, hotels, restaurants and discretionary retail will see demand decline and some will not recover. Massive government and private debt will also become a determining factor, and businesses with large debts and/or weak balance sheets will find it very difficult to survive as demand is slow to recover.

– Governance Reform: The pandemic has exposed serious political failings and governance weaknesses and especially those where ‘style’ and rhetoric has lacked essential strategy and factual or science-based ‘substance.’ In a time of global crisis, people rightly look towards central government for competence, reassurance and solutions. If these are not forthcoming, one should expect the political pendulum to swing in the opposing direction with all the consequences that implies across sectors.

While the above issues are not all-inclusive and details are still lacking, the outlines of the future are slowly becoming clearer. In particular, the major features and processes that will undoubtedly reshape the legal landscape are emerging both domestically and internationally.

For business and commerce development, there will be many new challenges as well as unexpected opportunities. While they may not be easy or comfortable, good opportunities are rarely comfortable and comfortable opportunities are rarely good. Making informed investment choices quickly and decisively, even before an “all clear” signal is apparent, will be key to success.

Whether you are a present or future client of Gostynski and Partners, you can rest assured that we will assist you to navigate this challenging landscape with trust, confidence and peace of mind.

In the meantime, we wish you and your families, good health. Although living through an extended ‘lockdown’ is not easy, we should all appreciate the benefits of togetherness and importance of caring for one other – now and well into the ‘unwritten’ future.

Szymon Gostynski and Partners