As countries around the world begin to ease stay-at-home restrictions, it’s leaving people wondering what our new post-pandemic world will look like. If you’re on social media, you’ve more than likely seen glimpses into what’s in store or maybe even experienced it first-hand after venturing out into recently re-opened public spaces. Either way, without a vaccine, the risks of COVID-19 are here to stay for the foreseeable future, making a new “normal” inevitable. Below are a few major things that are bound to happen in our new world.
- Continued remote working: as many companies shifted their workforce to an at-home, remote environment, it’s no surprise that flexible working from home policies are bound to continue as employers cautiously establish a new normal for their employees. In fact, some companies like Twitter have announced a permanent remote working option for those not ready to return to the office quite yet.
- Newly designed office spaces: in some spaces, one-way directional arrows are being placed on the ground to prevent cross-traffic, hygiene stations will be placed at every corner and equipped with hand sanitizer for easy and frequent cleaning, floor markers will enforce 6-foot social distancing requirements and employees will be seated at a distance from each other.
- Touchless technology: some experts are even considering the idea of the contact-less office where smartphones activate elevators or coffee machines and voice-assisted devices control the lighting, audio and video equipment in meeting rooms.
- Staggered working schedules: gone will be the days of coming in to the office from Monday through Friday. As companies realize the risks of having their workforce show up all at once, we can expect employees to have varied start and end times, as well as specified days of the week they’re allowed to come in to the office. It’s also possible that some companies may establish a 4-day workweek, an effort that has been widely debated by professionals in recent years.
- Contactless payment: you might not be reaching for your debit card for a while as retailers encourage customers to use contactless payment options such as Apple Pay. The effort is being led by one of the largest mall owners in the United States, Simon Property Group, as they continue to open their malls and outlet centers across the county.
- New online experiences: even before the pandemic brick-and-mortar stores were struggling to keep their businesses afloat. As more consumers flock to online shopping, be prepared for new virtual online experiences that take a more creative approach to keep your consumerism.
- Curbside pickup: you’ve most likely been doing this already with your restaurant orders, but with restrictions on store capacity, retailers will be offering curbside pickup for all of your shopping needs. From groceries to clothing to electronics, customers will now skip the in-store visit and get their items delivered straight to their car.
- Mental health crisis: medical professionals were already struggling with burnout, but, for those on the frontlines of the pandemic, the aftermath is predicted to take a major toll on their mental health. Some experts even say that many will display signs of post-traumatic stress disorder after being placed in war-like scenarios, treating an overwhelming number of patients who are battling for their lives.
- Virtual health services: more and more patients are gravitating toward telehealth services that allow them to receive care without leaving their home. Following the pandemic, many patients will continue to leverage these services as they cautiously acclimate to the constant presence of COVID-19.
- Renewed conversations on race: the COVID-19 virus is killing minorities, particularly black people, at disproportionate rates. For example, black people account for nearly half of the deaths in Wisconsin, yet only represent 6% of the state’s population. Experts in healthcare are hoping that the tragedy could renew a long-overdue conversation about health disparities and the social determinants of health.