The new normality post-COVID-19
Article by Pamela Ghosal, General Manager Marketing Communications EMEA, OKI Europe Ltd.
The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the lives of every single one of us across the globe in different ways. The way of life we’ve grown accustomed to for years has been abandoned in what feels like an instant. Our freedom has been put on hold and our routines tossed aside in favour of social distancing to help reduce the spread.
It’s safe to say that all of us are eagerly anticipating the end of temporary restrictions and return to living life as normal. But how will the world be different when the crisis eventually comes to an end? Will things ever be the same?
Hopefully as individuals we will be more appreciative of our freedom, relationships and lifestyles that unfortunately many of us took for granted until now. But what else will have changed forever in the post-pandemic world?
A new way of working
Many believe that Covid-19 will change the way businesses of all sizes in all sectors work. The impact will likely be both permanent and profound. Employees may grow to like home working and wonder why they ever had to go into the office in the first place. Similarly, many organisations that may have traditionally been wary of remote working have now been forced to adopt it and will have discovered that it doesn’t automatically result in a drop in productivity. The result will be that companies may relax flexible working policies and working from home will become more commonplace.
As Chief Executive of WordPress Matt Mullenweg predicts: “Millions of people will get the chance to experience days without long commutes, or the harsh inflexibility of not being able to stay close to home when a family member is sick. This might be a chance for a great reset in terms of how we work.”
It's not just where we work that may change, but how we work too. Many of us will have quickly adapted to holding meetings remotely through video conferencing platforms and will continue to use this technology long after the virus has passed. Companies too may decide to reduce staff travel, after realising that objectives can still be met and goals accomplished without meeting face-to-face.
A re-evaluation of what’s important
While undeniably, there will be changes to working practices, on the other hand, there will also be a large group of people who’ve felt trapped in their homes who will relish the chance to get back into the familiar office environment they knew and enjoyed. They will want to deal with people face-to-face as much as possible in future – with a newfound appreciation.
This appreciation for what’s really important will also apply to the rest of our lives. Liverpool FC legend Bill Shankly’s famous quote, “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it is much more important than that,” used to ring true to millions of sports fans. It now sounds absurd. The crisis has forced a re-evaluation of society’s hero worship of football players, sports stars and celebrity culture, and given us all time to pause and reflect on the things we should really value in life.
Post-pandemic there will also be a new appreciation for critical workers such as doctors and nurses and those critical in helping to keep the essentials of society functioning, such as refuse collectors, retail workers, and transport workers. These jobs, previously classed as low-skilled or low value, have turned out to be some of the most important in every country.
Making every second count
When normality eventually starts to return, before anything else people will want to spend as much time as possible with the family, friends and loved ones who they will have only been able to connect with for so long through a screen. Although these devices have been a lifeline for social interaction, there is nothing like being able to look your loved ones in the eye, hold hands or give them a hug. These are things that should no longer be taken for granted and hopefully these changes in our perspective and priorities will be one of the more positive outcomes from this extremely challenging period.