Pandemic brought some changes, which could become the new norm
The coronavirus brought about some changes in our lives, which could become the new norm, such as working at home, attending church in our pajamas by listening over the Internet, telemedicine, and curbside pickup of groceries and prescription drugs. Some will be lasting changes, while others may be only temporary.
The pre-pandemic world operated as it did for specific reasons — and those reasons will reassert themselves as life continues to normalize.
Take remote work. It may be a great arrangement for many workers, giving them more control over their time and allowing them to avoid commuting. However, more and more workers are returning to the workplace as workers like to separate the workplace from the home and find a certain joy in being with their co-workers.
Last year’s pandemic caused many families to cancel vacations at the beach and other popular destinations, but this summer, the vacations to the beach are on as are trips to Disneyworld and Dollywood.
High school football is planned for the fall as are band concerts and other school activities.
In some instances, telemedicine is likely to become a trend as the public has become more comfortable with receiving medical care through telemedicine — a video conference with a provider on the phone, and picking up their prescriptions at a local pharmacy.
Some doctors may be concerned about inadequate patient interaction and too many non-physicians with prescription pads, but the convenience offered to patients and the productivity boost enjoyed by the health-care sector means that this change is here to stay.
Or consider e-commerce, which has been steadily growing as a share of total retail sales for the past two decades. Online shopping surged during the pandemic and remains above its pre-virus trend.
Now that it’s safe to shop in brick-and-mortar stores, traditional retailers are trying to lure customers back with sales events. They will succeed to some extent, but many consumers who were wary of shopping online before the pandemic will have enjoyed the experience.
In some ways, it’s a learned skill. Take clothes shopping. Instead of trying on pants or a dress in a store and buying the ones you like, you need to buy a closet full of clothes online, try them on at home, and return the items you don’t want to keep. That may seem odd at first, but once you’ve learned how to do it — as many were forced to during the lockdowns — the convenience of e-commerce becomes more attractive.
Also, we place outdoor dining in the category of big changes that will stick. Many restaurants learned to serve meals outdoors, and invested in tents and other equipment that made outdoor dining pleasant. Without the pandemic, this probably wouldn’t have happened. However, dining in is returning to normal, except for one thing, many businesses, especially restaurants are having a hard time finding employees. There are “Help Wanted” signs out at almost every restaurant in town.
Going to work when sick is another habit the pandemic is likely to break. Many will think twice before going into the office or to school with a mild fever or cough. Despite having routinely gone to work under the weather, the pandemic has made us more aware of the risks of spreading disease, and we’ve taught ourselves, how to be productive from home.
“Will the pandemic change the way we live and work?”
“Will life return to normal?”
Many things are returning to normal. Some are still hesitant to return to school and work. They liked it better studying and working from home. Church attendance remains low as most have found worshiping at home more convenient.
Calling in your grocery order and curbside service will remain with us.
Some things the pandemic didn’t change was the Saturday evening car show down town. Some just like the idea of getting together with friends on a warm Saturday in the summer and talking cars, kids, work, or whatever. There never was any danger to that, not even during the height of the pandemic.
But, you can bet the pandemic has changed our life in more ways than we’ll ever know.