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Post -Covid 19: What Will Be The New Normal?

by Tony Sarchet

A crisis as serious as the current pandemic has put normal life on hold. At the same time, it raises certain concerns about exactly what kind of normal life we should be hoping to return to once the crisis has passed. A lower carbon one would be nice.

Here are a few questions that have occurred to me, prompted by the changes we have all been living through:

Now that we’ve all been forced to get used to conducting meetings from home using platforms such as Zoom, will companies in future enthusiastically revert to spending large sums of money sending their employees across the country, continent or world to check into expensive hotels in order to transact business? Or will some proportion of them decide to forego the jet lag, the travel time and the expenditure? What will this mean for projected future airline capacity? Will the money these airlines are already pleading the government to bail them out with turn out to be money well-spent?

And now that companies have been forced to make arrangements for many of their employees to work from home, how many of them may occasionally prefer not to have to undergo the crowded and stressful daily commute? Will this have an impact on future passenger numbers?

And now that many smaller companies which previously supplied produce exclusively to restaurants and cafes have started offering home deliveries of fresh fruit and vegetables of impressively good quality, how much of a chunk of the big supermarkets’ consumer business might they retain? And wouldn’t this be good for both growers and wholesalers, and maybe even help to reduce food miles?

The new normal seems to be a place where there is such a thing as society, where people in medicine and the caring professions are regarded as heroes. I wonder what else will be discovered – or rediscovered?