Covid-19 Economy Predictions

October 13, 2020

(Software-Engineering) Office culture

  • Informal mentorship (whiteboard sessions, (useful) code reviews) will become rare as remote works adds friction to the process.
  • Lack of organic mentorship will make companies not as efficiently extract value from junior employees who require more guidance. Many companies will move to a more Netflix-style model and value senior employees. This will make senior employees more valuable (i.e. paid more) but increase operational risk for those companies as knowledge and leadership will become more concentrated. Junior and new-grads will have an even harder time finding their first few jobs.
  • The risk of people being interpretted incorrectly will increase. This will result in unfocused teams at best and gossip at worst. This hasn’t happened yet because newly remote companies still have teams who know each other from before becoming remote.
  • Impressions (and biases) will form a more significant part of how people work with each other because of limited alternative information.
  • Management has a long way to go in building best practices and tools for remote management. Many management philosophies are still predicated on strong social interactions which break down when working remotely. There is a billion dollar company in building a tool to bridge this gap (and this company will make Zoom look like Cisco).

Macro-economic effects

  • There will be a mass migration of workers from high cost of living to low cost of living areas. While this will create burdens on the real estate market, the more interesting burdens will come from secondary effects like cities and states rebalancing their budgets.
  • Many companies are using Covid-19 as an excuse for layoffs. Smart companies are using the current “employers market” to headhunt future employees.
  • Many companies will use this as an opportunity to shed office-related expenses. This will further accelerate the distribution of employees.


  • A vaccine won’t be developed anytime soon that will be very effective (on the order of a smallpox vaccine). General antiviral and experimental therapies will continue to be researched and used until interest wanes.
  • At some point, the medical establishment is going to come looking for their paycheck. How the insurance and pharmaceutical industry will react will be interesting.
  • There are long-term effects from Covid-19. These effects are so far not well-known but at worst could cause slightly increased morbidity for years among those who have been infected by the virus in the past.
  • There’s going to be an interesting “freakonomics” study in 5 years around the health effects of those who partook in quarantine (e.g. increase in BMI, heart disease, mental stress). Most places didn’t quarantine for long enough for any long term effects to build up though.
  • There’s going to be an interesting “freakonomics” study in 10 years around the health effects from dampened employment rates from Covid. It will be hard to find signal in this noisy data though.