We hear of the new normal or what the world might look like post COVID -19. It is very cliched and lacks any detail. It is doubtless that post COVID-19 we are likely to carry forward an economic downturn and factors such as higher unemployment and greater hardship will be more prevalent. Some aspects will represent change or an end of an era. While we do not have the answers, we offer the following for discussion.
The death of the corporate office? Big businesses will realise that corporate office attendance between 8.30am and 5.30pm is mostly a waste of money and time, as well as inefficient. Corporate offices will become meeting rooms and the majority will work from home and use virtual facilities from here on in.
New opportunities for parents, carers and part-time workers. The non-essential office attendance will remove 2 hours of travel from the day, meaning that work will be more readily available for new parents and carers to continue their careers and manage their duties from home. This will include part-time opportunities.
A carbon reduction? Already the environment has benefited from less traffic conducting the daily grind. If work from home becomes a part of the new normal, then carbon reduction targets may be more easily reached as less fossil fuel is burned going to and from offices five days per week.
The office rooster’s days are up. We all know the one, the person that struts about the office and does not an ounce of work. We think that time is up for the types who do nothing in their workdays, other than walking around the office like big roosters (you know the ones). Working from home allows IT to measure actual work hours. These types will come unstuck very quickly (if they haven’t already and don’t realise it!).
Welcome to the digital age. Prior to the pandemic we thought we had reached the digital age. Sure, we had the equipment, but life rolled on without much change from the industrial age. During the pandemic we not only altered our work to work from home, doctors began consulting over videoconferences, online shopping became normal and we even caught up with our friends on applications such as Zoom, Houseparty etc. Our whole method of performing business, obtaining professional services and socialising has changed. While many aspects of socialising will return, business, shopping and gaining professional services has changed forever. Who really wants to wait for a doctor’s appointment again if the service can be obtained online?
Millennial opportunities. After a gap, opportunity will open for millennials that were not there before the pandemic. Too many well qualified millennials were waiting tables and were being starved of opportunities. The millennials will be provided new opportunities as tech savviness and new ideas will be needed in the new normal. As businesses become more prudent with money, they will see this untapped group as providing great value for money who will adapt to the technological age.
The loss of iconic brands (but new ones will appear). Sadly, iconic brands such as Radio Rentals and perhaps Virgin Airlines could disappear forever, as will other well-known brands. This is extremely sad for the employees and the suppliers of these firms. The upside is that new iconic brands will appear through this pandemic and become household names. Bear in mind, Coles arose soon after the 1918 pandemic. We will see of a raft of new innovative services delivered via new tech savvy brands.
Card is king! Cash is as good as gone. During COVID-19 we were encouraged to use cashless transactions to limit the virus spread. Suddenly we realised that internet shopping and cashless transactions at retail outlets was extremely convenient. With the uptake of internet banking, there is little need for cash and its circulation will slowly diminish in the new normal.
Handshaking no more. A handshake offer in the future world could evoke the response of “what, are you trying to kill me?” New greetings will take its place and sadly, this old tradition will disappear, particularly amongst the younger generations.
Newfound love? We will appreciate what we have a lot more. The freedom to attend a sports game, catch friends at a café, visit relatives and generally socialise will never be taken for granted again.
In summary – the old pre-pandemic world was a lovely place which we did not appreciate as much as we should. The new normal is also extremely exciting. While we will all face challenges, we will prosper and adjust to the new normal, some more quickly than others.