Times, they are a’changing

by Martin MacConnol – Apr 10, 2020

How my life is changing. I’m developing neuroses and habits I would never have thought possible. Half-full supermarkets make me feel like Piglet near a Heffalump. A month ago, I would have been jostling for the last avocado with the best of them.

And now when I’m in the park, (in the park!), I find myself holding my breath for a second or two if someone breaches my two-metre exclusion zone.

It got me thinking: what will change in our lives when this is all over: not the big stuff that economists and psychologists are paid to anticipate but the detail that makes up the fabric of existence day to day? Here are some ideas to start the ball rolling…

Death of the hankie
Can we seriously imagine a world where it’s considered a good look to go around with a rolled-up piece of unhygienic linen in our pockets?

Rise of the mask
If time’s up for the handkerchief, it will be rolling over for the next must-have health/fashion accessory: the face mask. I’ve already seen an advert for a designer sports kit complete with facewear. Anonymity here we come.

Big hi to the Namaste
OK, so we might revert back to handshaking, it’s been part of our culture for millennia, but it will take a long time. And there’s going to be that excruciating interim period of “do we, don’t we”, a bit like with the work air-kiss.

Kiss goodbye to the work air-kiss
On that note let’s hope one piece of Covid-19 good will be the final burial of the work air-kiss. The last couple of years have felt increasingly awkward.

No more sick heroics
Who can doubt we will unite in thinking ‘it’s not OK to bring germs into the office’? If you’re sick at least wear a mask, or better still: stay at home.

The joy of the tangible
We’re living on our devices as never before. Things we can hold and touch, from loved ones to print magazines are going to feel more precious in days to come.

A dip in gym membership
Who knew? You can do a good work out without having to pay a fancy gym for the privilege. And walking is good for the spirits too.

The final course for lunch Al Desko
One upside of home working is rediscovering that you can eat lunch away from your screen and keyboard.

Completion of the home office
It’s hard not to envisage a world where we do more homeworking. We’ve proved it can work and imagine the joy of doing it by choice rather than under duress.

End of regular working hours
Few of us are going to embrace the idea of crowding under other people’s armpits on the tube or buses again in a hurry. When we do need to go into the office, I can see more of us wanting to work hours around the core 9-5.

The list can go on and on: the world is going to be different from the profound to the mundane. And of course, trivial though some of these ideas may seem, the businesses which anticipate the changes will be the businesses that make it big in the future.

Published Apr 10, 2020

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