Change can be challenging, especially when we can’t control the speed or the timing. On the other hand, the incredible resilience and inventiveness shown across the UK during the current crisis has been nothing short of inspirational. As we head to a 'revised version' of lockdown, we’ve looked at five ways that life is changing – and it’s not all bad.
1. How we communicate
Visual contact is a vital part of feeling connected
Until recently, video conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom were used by gadget fans, corporate businesses and those with distant relatives. Now, after 6 weeks in lockdown, people are meeting online for virtual drinks parties, books clubs, quizzes, or just a chat with friends.
This sounds great, but the truth is that many of these activities are better face to face and, as the lockdown eases, habits will understandably change once again. That said, having become accustomed to seeing the person we’re talking to on the small or large screen, regular phone calls may feel more than a little inadequate.
As we move forward, we will be increasingly reliant on universally accessible and stable technology. This means that the rollout of full-fibre broadband to rural communities is now more important than ever but, with the right infrastructure in place, we may yet find ourselves a more connected society, one that relies on visual contact as the default way of communicating personally and professionally.
2. How we shop
Online shopping is increasing, with new brands and products being put to the test
Recent studies have shown that 60% of consumers have purchased more goods since the lockdown began and 39% have purchased things online that they would previously have only bought in store.
Whilst it’s true that the supermarkets have struggled to cope with the seismic shift to home deliveries, other businesses have thrived as, whether through genuine need or plain boredom, consumers have sought out new products and brands to try.
Interestingly, the way in which businesses have treated their staff and customers during the pandemic seems to be having a significant impact on brand loyalty. Such ethical choices are likely to be tested, as time and personal finances come under increased pressure, but buying habits formed now will continue to influence purchasing behaviour as the new normal takes shape.
3. How we work
Working from home is now a serious long-term option
We previously looked at how Covid-19 is affecting businesses and whether employers really need expensive offices in city centres and business parks, with many of us starting to think that there might be a better way of spending our time than travelling, to do something they can do just as well, if not better at home.
Working from home might not suit everybody, especially those with children at home or with limited space, but it seems to be working for more people than we ever thought it would. Following a recent survey published by Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, more than half of office workers in the UK (53%) will seek home working on more permanent basis following lockdown. This could mean that whilst some people can’t wait to get back to the office, employers may be surprised at the number of people who have got used to the improved work/life balance and lower workday costs that often comes from working remotely.
After the record lows seen in April, there has recently been a slight increase in car usage. With the lockdown expected to be gradually relaxed at some point in the next few weeks, the number of journeys will steadily increase.
It also seems likely that, given the practical difficulties of maintaining a social distance whilst travelling on public transport, the car will become even more important as the primary mode of transport for most people.
Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC conducted a survey with 1,818 office workers across the UK and discovered 64% are now more aware of their environment impact since Covid-19, and over a quarter (26%) are now more likely to consider an electric vehicle than they were before the pandemic.
In the sky above, the huge financial pressure being felt by airlines large and small is likely to lead to less choice as routes are restricted and some carriers fall by the wayside. The resulting increase in ticket prices may see a return of the ‘staycation’ as holiday makers look to save money and reduce the perceived risks associated with falling ill abroad.
5. How we feel
A re-evaluation of priorities may mean the new normal is better than the old one
There is no doubt that the lockdown has had a serious impact on mental and emotional health. For many of us, feelings of isolation and frustration at freedoms lost has been one of the most difficult experiences we have ever dealt with.
Conversely, these same restrictions have led to families taking a walk or ride around their local area, books have been read, jobs done and the time normally spent commuting has allowed some to enjoy more quality time for themselves or with their loved ones.
This is not to downplay the stress and difficulties caused by the loss of income, or the devasting impact of the virus itself. These factors will continue to be a source of anxiety for a while yet, but the lockdown has also created an opportunity to re-evaluate priorities and think about what sort of life we want to return to.
As the government talks about the best way to kick start the economy, we as individuals will be looking to kick start our lives. Whether this means reverting to the life we once had, or finding a new path ahead, remains to be seen.
Would you like to speak with us about how you can reduce your environment impact with an electric vehicle? Get in touch today with one of our expert’s or have a look at our Electric Vehicle Hub for more information.