I do wish I could write about something other than coronavirus. It’s all everyone seems to be talking about at the moment, and I’m sure you’re sick to death of hearing about it or reading about it. So this post won’t be of any help to you.
I don’t even think I wrote a blog post about Brexit when it was all anyone ever talked about. Then again, Brexit didn’t really have as big an effect on me as it did other people, given that I have an Irish passport so still remain a member of the EU (I think).
But with COVID-19, things are a little different. It’s impacting everyone the world over. We’re still going through it and there are still things to come I am sure.
What’s intriguing me most is the unknown. We don’t know when this isolation period will end, or how we are going to handle it once it does end. Who’s example do we follow and who will lead?
The only thing I know for sure is that the world as we know it, will change. Life is going to be a lot different post-COVID and we’re going to have a lot of new things to get used to.
Below are 20 things I think will change and how I expect them to change.
1. MORE INVESTMENT IN OUR HEALTHCARE
We have without a doubt, realized the importance and vitality of the National Healthcare Service (NHS) in the UK. I have no idea where we, or our country would be without it, and it is vital after this is over that we do everything to protect it and to make it better.
Our healthcare workers aren’t paid enough for the work that they do, and it is time that this changes. We need to also realize that the NHS is not a charity and that it should be funded and supported by the government.
Even if that means we have to pay additional tax, wouldn’t you want to if it improves our healthcare and makes sure it isn’t privatized?
2. THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTINGENCY PLANNING
We may not have seen this coming – I’m pretty sure the majority of us didn’t – but there are those who planned for it and were prepared. Those who weren’t prepared have faced the brunt of the pandemic and suffered the greatest lost.
Take Primark for example. They only have bricks and mortar stores, and no form of eCommerce. They will probably be one of the main fashion retailers to face the biggest hit and suffer most loss.
This pandemic has enforced that no matter how crazy something seems, we must plan for everything, any worst-case scenario possible. Think Carole Baskin and the possibility of her husband ‘disappearing’ in her pre-nup.
3. A REDUCTION IN GLOBALIZATION
Since most countries have shut up shop and closed their borders, and given the worldwide shortage of yeast, it’s time to start living off our own lands.
We may see a rise in buying from our local farmers, only eating food that we can grow in our own countries and an increase in shopping local.
We will most likely see less reliance of having things shipped from overseas and make the most of what we have right here on our own doorstep.
4. SUPPORTING OUR LOCAL INDEPENDENTS
We’ve seen quite a few large multinational corporations ask the government for bailouts and help, following the difficult place they now find themselves financially.
The likes of Virgin and Shake Shack have done themselves no favours on a PR front asking for large amounts of money from their respective governments.
Granted, Richard Branson has helped with his run 5, donate 5, nominate 5 challenge, and Shake Shack has given the money back – but it may harm them in the long term.
I suspect after this pandemic, consumers are going to want to support smaller, independent retailers as they will be the hardest hit from COVID-19. Our local, family-owned restaurants, independent fashion botiques and wholesalers for example, should all be supported more so then their larger, tax-avoidant competitors.
5. ACCESS TO THE INTERNET WILL BE A HUMAN RIGHT
Not long ago, Jeremy Corbyn asked whether access to the internet should become a human right.
With most things now online, and even more so due to the current situation, should internet be free and readily available to everyone?
We have seen the surge in online grocery orders, online takeaway, online shopping for general, everyday items and as a means to communicate with one another. Shouldn’t everyone have the benefit of doing all of the above?
6. MORE RESPECT FOR FRONTLINE WORKERS
I think we have come to understand the importance of our healthcare workers who we now rightfully brand as heroes, and we should do more to thank them – something more substantial than clapping for them once per week.
It wasn’t long ago that Boris Johnson declared them as ‘unskilled workers’ due to their low income and yet it is these ‘unskilled workers’ that saved his very life.
7. THE IMPORTANCE OF CLEAR MESSAGING
The beginning of the lockdown was a bit of a shambles to say the least. In Northern Ireland, two sides of the border couldn’t agree with each other and there were neighbours that were following different guidelines.
America’s messaging hasn’t been that clear either. Just watch one of Trump’s briefings and you would assume that no script has been written and it’s all off the top of his head.Let’s not forget that he suggested people start drinking bleach.
To read about the best leaders (the women) handling this crisis, click here.
8. VIRTUAL ASSISTANCE FROM OUR DOCTORS
I don’t know why this still isn’t a thing, but just like customer service ‘chat bots’ on different company websites, there should really be a 24/7 online chat service for people to inquire about health problems.
Just a few weeks ago when I was thinking about going to a local clinic, I wished there had been an online chat service where I could speak to someone quickly and assess whether I needed to go into the clinic in person.
Going forward, I think this may happen to stop people constantly turning up at their GPs and to stop the spread of certain viruses and diseases.
9. THE RISE OF THE REMOTE WORKER
For quite a lot of us, we have been working from the comfort of our homes for the past number of weeks. Some of us have even noticed that their working day hasn’t changed in the slightest. For me, my job has remained exactly the same and nothing has become harder or impossible due to working from home.
This period of time may show some companies that their workers are able to work remotely to do their job, and may provide flexible working, the opportunity to work from home and even the option to work remotely from anywhere in the world.
10. A GREENER ENVIRONMENT
Aerial images have been doing the rounds on Twitter, showing the vast improvement in the atmosphere given the lockdown. All over the world, in different cities and continents, the lack of cars, planes and trains, the closing of factories and a slowing down of people has resulted in a cleaner air and an improvement to our climate.
Going forward, this will show just what can happen when we do cut back and when we do improve our emissions.
11. UNEMPLOYMENT PLANNING
I’m not 100% understanding of the furlough scheme in the UK, but from what I have read and understand it is a new scheme put in place because of the pandemic (please do correct me if I’m wrong).
A lot of people have been laid-off, lost their jobs and lost their household incomes. Did the government have a plan in place for a level of unemployment on this scale? It would appear not. Going forward, there will need to be a plan in place and money available for those who need it, should this happen again.
12. A RISE IN SOCIAL ANXIETY
Right now, we’re all a lot more conscious of the people around us. We’re wary of the number of people, how close they are in proximity and God forbid if someone coughs or sneezes next to you.
So what happens when restrictions ease? Will we feel comfortable being in a room of 20 people? Will we go to concerts again? The cinema? Because of this situation, I can see a lot of us becoming more anxious about crowded places and large events.
13. MASK WEARING WILL BE THE NORM
It’s now the law to wear a mask/scarf in any public building/store in New Jersey. They don’t let you in if you aren’t wearing one. I can see this becoming a new normal for us all, even when this pandemic does pass.
On public transport, in stores, in public gatherings, we may be forced to cover our mouths and noses. It will be strange to transition to this new way of life, but I do think this will be one thing that will stick around in a post-COVID-19 world.
14. LARGE GATHERINGS WILL CHANGE
I think it will be a long time before we’re back at a concert, a sporting event or large social gathering. How will they keep social distancing intact at a standing concert? Or how will they divide people watching a football game?
A lot of things will change, but I think events like concerts, sporting events and conferences will see the largest change and alterations.
15. PUBLIC TRANSPORT WILL CHANGE
I think the days of packed subway carts and standing on buses may be behind us. I for one, will not want to squeeze my way onto a rush-hour subway cart to make it into work for 9am.
Perhaps, there may be new restrictions and new maximum capacity numbers on all forms of public transport and better spacing. I think it will also be a long time before a lot of us go back to work, if we rely on public transport to take us there.
16. EDUCATION WILL MOVE ONLINE
We’ve seen schools and universities close and move fully online. For young children, I can imagine that being most difficult and I applaud anyone given the task to homeschool young children because I can’t imagine how hard that must be (and for some also trying to work full-time too).
This will be more-so for universities I think. Like the Open University, I think quite a few courses may move online and be able to be completed from the comfort of the student’s own home or from anywhere in the world.
Here are five online courses that you can do online right now if you are that way inclined.
17. WE MAY BECOME SAVVY SAVERS
I don’t know about you, or anyone else but I haven’t spent anywhere near as much as previous months, thanks to lockdown. The only money I’m spending is on grocery shopping and the odd takeout.
There are no more morning Starbucks, no buying toast in the office canteen for breakfast, no purchasing lunch instead of making it and no going to bars, restaurants or going out at the weekends.
If the world does go back to normality, I doubt I will go back to spending so much money on coffee from Starbucks, lunch from the work canteen or surrounding eateries and there will be less dining out and going to bars, because I’ve now realized how much I can save by not doing those things.
18. A REDUCTION IN CONSUMERISM
Since there is no need to buy any ‘going out’ outfits, as no one is actually going out other than to the local Tesco, and that surprisingly has turned into the equivalent of going out at the weekend since it’s the only real opportunity to dress up, there has been a reduction in fast fashion.
However, some people are resorting to buying more clothes since being inside and buying more loungewear than they would ever need, but the idea of wearing a different outfit every weekend has since left us.
Maybe in the new world post-COVID-19, we’ll see a reduction in fast fashion and a reduction in consumerism as a whole as we’ll start making do with what we have.
19. FREELANCING WON’T BE THE LUCRATIVE CAREER IT ONCE WAS
I once looked at freelancing as a very enticing career path. The freedom to take on your own projects, the ability to do your work from anywhere in the world and being your own boss. Although it wasn’t the most secure career, it was still very appealing.
Now though, you could say quite the opposite. I’ve seen a lot of writers, bloggers and influencers losing collaborations and deals left, right and center. Most of their work has dried up and brands haven’t been able to pay them.
Will this mean freelancers will have a more secure back-up plan in the future? Will they have a second job to fall back on? How will they be able to make their career as a freelancer financially secure?
20. WE WON’T TAKE OUR FREEDOM OR HEALTH FOR GRANTED
As Mel Gibson once declared in the movie Braveheart, “they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”. Well, right now the coronavirus is taking both. So Mel Gibson, I’m afraid you’re quite wrong.
However, some day in the future (God knows when), we will be given back our freedom (in small doses) and we will never take it for granted again. The ability to fly to other countries, to go on holiday, to hug our friends, to spend time with our family and to just go back to normal life.
All of the everyday things that we used to take for granted, we no longer will. We will be thankful every time we walk out of our front door and we will be thankful for our health. (Here are some tips on how to practice gratitude).
It’s a scary world out there right now and who knows when normal order will be resolved – or if it ever will? Stay safe, stay inside and do whatever you can to help this world go back to some sort of normality. I don’t know about you, but I could do with a very long holiday after this. I’ll just have to remember to pack my face mask along with the suncream.