Before I get serious about the effects of the pandemic on our lives, I want to share a work-from-home incident that explains how telecommuting might go in many homes. My son might hate me for sharing this. Still, I cannot resist giving you a real-life example. While he was on a management video meeting, his 3-year-old came running into the room. He had just done his business on the toilet, and he was without his pants. He bent over, pulled his buttocks apart and — in a loud voice — asked Dad whether he did a good job of wiping his own bum. LOL — in a year or so after the pandemic, I am sure someone will post a collection of embarrassing moments from telecommuting parents.
What will the post pandemic new normal be?
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed lives as we knew it. In years to come, we might refer to “BC” (Before Corona) and “AC” (After Corona). The effects of the pandemic are far and wide. Lockdowns, job losses, social distancing and economic consequences put us squarely into an unanticipated experiment of social science. We had no option to volunteer participation and no time for preparation. It feels like I woke up one morning, and the whole world had changed.
A collaboration of companies launched a survey to measure the pandemic’s effects — the Coronavirus Disruption Project. The 1,000 participants were representative of the average Americans, and the study dealt with the impact on professional, personal and cultural lives. Analyses of the survey showed how people expect their lives to change.
Continue working from home after the pandemic
As abruptly as the Coronavirus hit us, millions of people had to adjust to telecommuting. Work from home is much more complicated than it sounds. In many homes, both parents had to set up work areas where they could do whatever they did in their offices BC. Also, the children had to be homeschooled — by whom? Their parents, who have to keep their jobs up to date?
However, most people quickly adjusted to telecommuting. Over 60% of those surveyed indicated that they prefer not having to wear formal attire. They enjoy the flexibility they have at home and the positive effect of spending more time with their families. Further, almost 80% of respondents prefer not having to commute. After settling into their home offices, they get as much work done at home as on-site offices.
Post-pandemic virtual doctor’s consultations
Medical practitioners and developers of systems for online consultations were likely also caught unawares. While development has been ongoing, it had to be implemented much sooner than expected. Some people replied that previously, they would only have resorted to telemedicine if they had no other choice. The pandemic eliminated other options. We humans can see the positive in anything. With virtual consultations, we don’t have to drive to the doctor’s rooms. There is no need to look for parking and no delays in the waiting room.
Online shopping and home deliveries
A survey by an investment firm shows that 55% of 1,500 participants bought their groceries online, compared to 36% in a similar study less than two years ago. Downloading of delivery service apps has quadrupled over a single month. Analyses of the data indicate a permanent shift to online shopping after the pandemic.
Social distancing and staying in touch
With the availability of Zoom, Facebook Live and other online options, most people reported that the pandemic had not affected their relationships with friends, family and colleagues. Many people regard phone calls impersonal and shallow now that videoconferencing and Zoom is available. However, the survey failed to cover the lack of physical contact like hugs and the many negative psychological consequences it has. Hugs play an essential role in social bonding and recognition, such as between parents, children, grandparents and grandkids.
Will face mask wearing become par for the course?
We do not wear masks for self-protection, but instead for social protection. Masks have been a common practice in Asian countries. Studies into the attitudes of Americans regarding mask wearing indicate that the choice to wear masks will depend on the situations or settings. It will likely be common in dense urban areas and gatherings of masses. Many people say they will only wear masks when they go out.
Post pandemic air and public travel
It is unclear how different airlines will deal with the aftermath of the Coronavirus pandemic. One thing is sure, airplanes and airports will have to make changes to their deep-cleaning and sterilizing facilities. While mask wearing might not be optional, some arrangements will be required to maintain distances where people wait in lines. Similar changes will follow in other public transport services.
To sum up, AC will be a lot different from BC, and regardless of how our lives will change, the pandemic made sure that most people now know how often and for how long they must wash their hands.