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Pandemic lessons still apply, says professor as B.C. readies plan to reopen

Last Updated May 5, 2020 at 10:26 pm PDT

FILE - In this April 2, 2020 file photo, "For Sale By Owner" and "Closed Due to Virus" signs are displayed in the window of a store in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. Business filings under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy law rose sharply in March, and attorneys who work with struggling companies are seeing signs that more owners are contemplating the possibility of bankruptcy. Government aid my simply be too little too late. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Professor David Dunne says the pandemic allowed some changes to sectors that were previously missed

Dunne says some lessons will still apply in whatever the next phase is for the B.C.

The province will announce plans to reopen Wednesday

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As the provincial government is set to announce plans on restarting the province, a business professor says lessons learned during the pandemic can be used in the next phase.

David Dunne, Professor and Director of MBA Programs at the University of Victoria Business School says the pandemic has given the opportunity to retool some sectors in the community.

“There was a study last week that asked people if working from home was a positive or negative experience for them. Eighty per cent of respondents said it was a positive experience. So you can see employers becoming more sympathetic to people working from home, and that reduces traffic on the roads,” he explained.

Another trickle-down effect of this pandemic has seen clients in different cities meeting online instead of face-to-face, something that will cut down on emissions in the air, Dunne says – even though he admits the airlines won’t be big fans of that development.

“The last couple of months have gotten people much more accustomed to working digitally, so you can see that businesses may be a whole lot less keen to have their managers travel both domestically and internationally,” Dunne added.

While the UVic professor says he knows getting back to normal as much as possible is the goal, there are many things people stopped to think about over the last two months that still apply moving forward together.

“The medical systems have been forced in some ways into digitization, with online meetings. It could’ve been done regularly ten or fifteen years ago, but wasn’t done largely due to inertia in the system,” Dunne says.

He also tells NEWS 1130 he’s had students tell him they’re out of work or far from home, and that drives him to consider the burden of mental health during all this.

But Dunne says the mental health point of view on the crisis is a double-edged sword.

“I think there are people who are really suffering and there are people who are quite happy with the situation, where they’re close to their kids and pets, and so on.”

He says he hopes the spotlight on the importance of mental health continues as it had before.

The provincial government will be rolling out plans for gradually returning to normal Wednesday afternoon.