Here we are, in this strange version of our lives. Our working lives are different. Our leisure time is different. Not even sure our sleep is the same, as many lose sleep through anxiety and thinking through all kind of “what if” scenarios.
Not being Bill Gates, I didn’t see this coming. Thought I knew how the next few months might play out for me and my plans. Unlike Bill, I was wrong.
Is there any good in this?
Firstly, this is a dreadful time. There are families across the globe losing loved ones ahead of their time, and in awful circumstances. The way we can say goodbye has changed beyond recognition. The things we thought we would be able to do at the end of life are no more.
To those families, there are probably no words to help, other than everyone at every stage will have done everything they can in the circumstances.
Beyond the heartbreak, what can we take out of this? Will any good come out of this?
That may or may not be good news to you. But it might also show that sometimes rifts can be healed. Not always. If nothing has changed, if past behaviour goes unacknowledged, if current behaviours hasn’t changed, then it might not be possible.
But it might. Or maybe, in the spirit of how we’re working, one of them could join by Zoom. Cuts the small talk.
We might consider the balance of commerce versus the planet
Sadly, there aren’t dolphins in the canals of Venice, but the water is clearer from the lack of activity. The question will be whether any changes are made to how much activity is allowed to return. Having had a clean break, do you just go back to where you were? All those things that seemed impossible to stop doing? Turns out we could stop.
The question is which ones will we start again?
Apparently the luxury sector is one that is being hit hard, and with many questioning whether they will return to their old habits. Likewise, when you can’t travel beyond your own front garden, where’s the first place you’ll go to when this is over?
In many cases, the answer may well not involve long haul flights, but a trip to see much missed family and friends. You might want to plan get togethers that everyone can get to, which might mean here in the UK. There’ll be communities and businesses very pleased to see you at that time.
The planet might not be the thing at the top of our minds when we make these decisions, but it will be a beneficiary.
No such thing as business as usual (or not as it used to be)
For many businesses, particularly smaller ones, we’ve seen nimble pivots that they might not have imagined 3 months ago. Maybe the pivots represent something they thought they might do in the future. Maybe it just seemed like something that was too much to think about right now.
And yet, when needs must, it’s amazing what we can do.
My own small example is that I have never written about funeral care before. But a client asked me to, and then told me that I had a lovely tone for it. I think it was a compliment. It’s not work I’d have gone looking for, and I wish we had met in better circumstances. But I’m thankful for it (and also would like to take my hat off to those working to provide loved ones with an appropriate send-off in difficult circumstances).
So whether businesses are making hand sanitiser, which might be a short-term thing, or gone into delivery or an online shop, then these might be leaps into new business that might have been for a mythical tomorrow in other circumstances.
We have new heroes
I don’t think anyone is in doubt that everyone in the NHS, from ICU staff to cleaners, is an absolute hero at the moment. Likewise, those in essential retail, from food to pharmacy, and all the supply chain that keeps stuff flowing through to the shops.
Many roles, and organisations in the NHS’ case, that have been undervalued and underfunded for too long are now the things keeping all of us going. I might be living in a fools paradise to think that will change. But with enough people making enough noise, on a Thursday night and every other night, it just might.
Science and expertise might be back where it needs to be
And I mean real science. Not Goop “science”. Certainly not politician science, particularly those that stand there with experts by their side and dismiss their evidence as not applying to them. Or, even worse, push “cures” that have no peer reviewed science to them.
We know who they are.
I want to see more Professor Chris Whitty, Professor Dame Angela McLean, Dr Jenny Harries, Dr Anthony Fauci. Less of the keyboard experts busy blaming 5G for this. Even less Amanda Holden.
Science doesn’t have all the answers. But it’s a good starting point in my view. Yes we should question it, yes we should hold it to account, but I’d rather start with facts.
The work model might change
For firms that had trust issues over people working from home, then I guess they’ve had to get over them pretty darned quickly. And people might question the time they spend commuting, the time they spend in the office when it’s worked pretty well for these weeks.
Interesting read on the impact on the salarymen of Japan, renowned for their long hours culture. If they change, then you’d think other parts of the world will too.
What will you keep? Or at least do differently?
I’m going to keep the excellent organisation of my kitchen cupboards for as long as possible. Check back in 6 months on the success of that one!
Stay safe and well, here’s to better days ahead.
Photo is from the webcam of Lyme Regis beach on the Classic Cottages website. A sight so rarely seen: an empty beach on a sunny Saturday. But very pleased to see it looking like this at the moment.