I’ve been thinking a lot about what the real new normal will be, after this covid-19 crisis is over.
The world is changing as we speak. This unbelievable, previously inconceivable, global event is changing everything.
This “new normal” is anything but normal. And is absolutely temporary.
When this is all over, when they’ve developed a vaccine and this horrible virus-beast is tamed, it’s pretty much a given that things won’t go back to our old normal.
Here’s what I believe will be different.
The ability to work from home will be considered normal after this. People who used to think we have to be physically at our place of work in order to be productive will be in the minority.
Two, three, or five months from now, when those of us who still have jobs and are able to keep working all go back to the office, we will start to realize that we miss the freedom and flexibility of working at home and being able to do laundry or start a roast or pull a few weeds while listening in on a conference call.
It will be a new normal to work from home. One, two, maybe even three days a week. If not more.
People are now more than ever aware of what it takes to keep from getting sick.
This is not really new. I’ve been an obsessive hand-washer for years and I’m positive that it has saved me many times from contagious illnesses.
Hand-washing and general cleanliness is becoming a habit for everyone. And once you adopt a habit like cleanliness, it’s unlikely you’ll go back to your relatively dirtier ways.
Because it feels good to be clean.
People are cooking at home now. It’s hard not to.
Takeout is scary, sit-down restaurants are closed, coffee shops are drive-up only.
I personally love to cook tasty, nutritious food. I’ve spent years perfecting the 30-minute meal, and I’m so happy that others are experiencing the joy and health benefits of eating food made with their own hands.
Cooking is not hard, or even time consuming, once you get used to it.
And it’s a lot cheaper.
I’m finding that things I used to think were important aren’t so much any more. This is because many of the values we used to hold dear are not necessary to our survival.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs comes into the spotlight here — the foundation of that hierarchy is all about staying alive.
Things that used to be important — a nice car, $100 hair treatments, weed-free lawns, premium pet food, expensive dinners out — they don’t really matter right now.
I used to put makeup on and dress nicely every day. I haven’t worn makeup in a month and I wear t-shirts and sweat pants or shorts every day. It’s comfortable, everyone else is doing it, and nobody cares what I look like on video from the chest up.
How much of this will this carry over to the post-social distancing world when we all go back to a communal space? That’s relatively uncertain. But I think the overall shift is less about the personal practice and more about our tolerance of it.
What other values might make a permanent shift? Relationships, nature, work ethics, keeping in touch with friends, helping neighbors.
These things are not simply habits.
These are the activities that define us, make us feel good, and help make this life worth living.
Finally, it’s a well-known fact that startups spike during a recession. Necessity is the mother of invention after all. When people are jobless, they become creative about finding new ways to make money.
And starting an online business is the fastest way to create an income stream.
Very soon we will see a surge in new online businesses. Some portion of these new business will do well and end up providing a long-term income stream. The founder may even decide not to go “back to work” once the job market turns around.
I recently heard about a well-known podcaster who stated that we are now at the true end of the industrial revolution, and soon will be solidly in the Information Age. I think I agree.
These are exciting times, filled with possibility.
I’m not downplaying the severity of the current situation, but we will come out of this. And the new normal that is coming our way is going to be amazing.
The world is changing fast… for good.