There will soon be a day when we can return to some level of normality following the seemingly endless COVID-19 pandemic. Life will not be the same as it was before, however, and for better or worse the future will look very different to what has come before. Whether it’s working from home or taking regular antigen tests, here are the trends we think will still be around for years to come.
Mask Wearing and Testing
Mask wearing has been common in many Asian countries for decades, becoming an accepted part of daily life following outbreaks of other coronaviruses such as SARS. It might be one reason why coronavirus rates there have been relatively low.
They are fast becoming fashion statements as well, with many fashion brands now adopting masks as an essential accessory to any outfit. This again comes from Asia, with many Japanese fashion brands already selling matching masks and ensembles.
Even though it may not be long before masks are no longer mandated in public areas, we still think they’ll remain in use on public transport, protecting the population from endemic diseases like the flu.
Testing may also remain as a means of identifying ill people; strides have been taking in producing tests like the Healgen rapid antigen test, which can tell a patient whether they’re ill inside an hour, allowing them to receive quicker and better treatment and care.
Working from Home
Quite possibly the biggest cultural shift brought about by the pandemic is the exodus of the workforce from the office, and we think this is set to continue. Many companies are now embracing a more flexible approach to working, with employees only being required to be in the office for a few days each week.
Employees themselves are also keen to keep working from home as common practice, with positive attitudes towards home working increasing as the pandemic has gone on.
Not all employers, however, are quite as sold on the concept. Netflix’s chairman Reed Hastings said last year that working from home has no positive effects, suggesting there may be a settling in period before it becomes widely accepted going forward.
Our Approach to Personal Health and Wellbeing
The pandemic has made many people take much more care of themselves. Companies selling fitness trackers and apps have noticed a sharp increase in users during the pandemic, with many people recognising the need to take better care of themselves.
The closure of gyms during the pandemic has also prompted a huge increase in the sale of home workout programmes and equipment. Companies like Peloton are now seeing their treadmills become a household staple, and we think the convenience of having this equipment in the home will likely mean the practice continues.
A Retreat from the High Street
Shops that were deemed to be non-essential retail have spent much of the last year closed, and within this vacuum there has been a substantial increase in ordering online. The convenience of being able to purchase an item and receive it without leaving the house will surely remain as customers make this part of their routine. The implications for the high street are not rosy, with many shops likely closing and people being made redundant.
Even grocery shopping, a constant throughout the pandemic, has gone online. More people than ever before are choosing to order groceries to their home rather than leave the house to go shopping, largely due to safety concerns, however the convenience of this practice makes it likely that this will continue. We’re likely to see a sharp decline in shoppers leaving the house to make purchases in the future.
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