It’s Time to Start Thinking about the ‘New Normal’
After Boris Johnson’s statement on Sunday which granted more freedoms to the citizens of England, maybe it’s time for us all to start thinking about the ‘new normal’ and what that might mean for us.
There’s been a lot of rhetoric about ‘bouncing back’ as though at some point in the near future we will suddenly recoil and snap back to our normal way of life.
But is this really a reasonable expectation? Has Covid-19 changed our futures forever? And, will life ever be the same again?
Despite this marginal ‘loosening up’, we’re being constantly told that there’s still a long way to go before any semblance of normal life returns. This might be just enough time for us to become accustomed to some of our new working practices, so much so that we don’t want to, or can’t, go back to the way things were pre-Covid-19.
So what changes could we expect in our ‘new normal’ way of life, especially in the world of work?
Will commuting to work look a lot different?
If social distancing stays in place for a prolonged period of time, the number of people using public transport may fall dramatically, meaning workers will have to find new ways of getting to work or change the way they work entirely. The working day may also bend and flex to accommodate different start and finish times and reduce congestion, and there may be a much higher proportion of people working remotely for at least part of the working week.
Will in-person meetings become a thing of the past?
While in-person meetings won’t disappear completely, in a post-COVID-19 workplace, there may be far more consideration about whether a meeting is required and who and how people should attend. In-person meetings may look different too; greeting people by shaking hands or with continental kissing may die out altogether in the workplace and more emphasis may be placed on ensuring people have sufficient personal space.
Will we really need more high-rise office space?
Office space is very expensive; now that employers have seen how much can be achieved remotely, they may decide that office space is an overhead they can do without, especially while struggling to recover from the crisis. Employers may encourage people to work at home and office environments may take on an entirely new purpose, while organisations may also opt to move out of premium city-centre locations.
Will we still travel around the world to achieve our goals?
International travel is perceived by some as a prestigious perk of the job and for others a necessary way to build international relationships and to get business done, but, in the ‘new normal’, we might discover new ways to achieve our international goals from a distance, without leaving our local countries. If airlines are forced to operate in-flight social distancing and then have to recoup their costs by reducing flights and increasing fares, the high cost and inconvenience of flying will soon make international travel less appealing.
Will we care more about the environment?
Since Covid-19 there have been some positive impacts on the environment. While ‘normal’ life for humans is on pause, the natural world seems to be flourishing with reports of cleaner air and water, creatures emerging, and wildlife blossoming. After Covid-19, maybe we’ll have learned some lessons about how to co-exist more productively with the natural environment and be ready to develop new and more environmentally friendly policies that alter the way we work.
Will we have a different attitude towards change?
We were throwing the words ‘VUCA’ and ‘Agility’ around long before Covid-19 came along, but to what avail? Now that many of us have experienced massive change for the first time in our lives, maybe we’ll start looking more seriously at better ways to prepare ourselves for change so that we can respond to, and experience, change in a more positive way. This could lead to a much greater focus on developing brand new skills that help us to be more self-regulating, curious and collaborative.
Will technology play a bigger part in how we learn?
Although eLearning has been around for a while, it still wasn’t as popular as traditional methods of workshop-based learning prior to Covid-19. That’s partly because eLearning rarely engages people on a deeper level and doesn’t address real behavioural change. But with incredible innovation in learning technology, such as Notion’s award-winning 100% virtual management development programme STAR® Manager, there is now a legitimate and highly effective alternative to live training. Described as ‘better than a live programme’, the fully blended STAR® Manager programme has the capability of transforming behaviour and generating transformational results, completely remotely. In fact, because it can be completed in any place, at any time, and on any device, STAR® Manager has continued to run on rails throughout this crisis proving that it’s a sustainable and pandemic-proof way to learn.
In real terms, we’re yet to discover what the final impact of Covid-19 will be on our lives, but it’s perhaps safe to predict that Covid-19 will accelerate some changes that once seemed a long way off, nigh-on impossible, before the pandemic.
One friend of mine who runs an NHS GP Practice confessed he’s achieved more positive change in the last 3-months, regarding modernising the ways they work, than he could have achieved in three years pre Covid-19.
Whilst, in some ways, Covid-19 may make the impossible possible, each of us must still learn how to live in the new normal and develop brand new skills that will help us navigate the social and economic disruptions that are inevitable in the wake of Covid-19. Thankfully, innovative solutions such as STAR® Manager are ready and waiting to help us recover, rebuild and thrive in the new normal.
So what will you do to prepare for the new normal?