The scale of change in human behavior that we’ve seen due to Covid-19 in just the last couple of months only happens every 10-20 years, with one of the last significant behavioral changes dating back to the iPhone’s release on June 29th, 2007. At the time, our lives went from keyboards to finger swipes and an “app for that.” Industry leaders changed with Blackberry shuttering 97% of their market value from their peak and Apple becoming the world’s most valuable company. More importantly, human behavior changed with the promise of the Clinton era’s information superhighway coming to fruition, all in the palm of your hand.
The iPhone changed every part of our daily life from how we do business to how we communicate with our friends and family. A lucky 13 years later, new technology is coming to market whose creator, Mother Nature, will act faster and more pervasively than any Steve Jobs creation ever could. We’ve entered the Covid-19 era.
So what does this mean for work, and what should we expect? Well, we are starting to get a glimpse of the new norm. Below are our top 5 Covid-19 new norms.
1. Remote work is here to stay
Corporate polls show that many employees would prefer to ditch the commute in favor of flexibility in their location, and the last couple of months have proved that business can continue with remote teams. The move to remote work has made video conference and corporate messaging essential business tools, and companies like Zoom and Slack are benefitting. The corporate toolbox is growing to enable the move away from the office, which should give rise to an entire generation of mobile work nomads who seek a steady paycheck to pay for their adventure on the road.
2. Elbow bumps and waives in place of handshakes and hugs
There are few things more potent on the human psyche than fear. Expect fear of COVID transmission to impact the way we build social relationships, especially changing jobs such as sales that rely heavily on in-person interactions. Startups will try to bridge the relationship gap between companies, using technology to bolster communication, build trust, and develop rapport.
3. The what, where, and how we eat food are all changing
For all of us flatten-the-curve types, we’ve made the change to cooking at home or doing take out. Chains like Chipotle and Starbucks are adapting and bolstering their online apps and downsizing location space in favor of express shops. Meal kit companies like Blue Apron, which were on life support before Covid-19, are now thriving as we all try to figure out what’s for dinner.
4. There’s no place like home for entertainment
Do you remember the last movie you saw in a theatre before they became a health hazard? Movie premiers are increasingly becoming online streaming events, and our theatre of choice is home. Streaming platforms such as Netflix and Disney+ have seen a surge in subscriptions, and video games are flying off the shelf.
5. Health and fitness moves online
This change was already starting to happen pre-COVID with companies like Peloton and Mirror, promising the gym experience in the comfort of your living room. The recent $500M acquisition of fitness tech company Mirror to lululemon further proves that the in-home gym will be around for a while. As well, Telehealth visits are becoming more commonplace, accelerating the transition to online, on-demand healthcare.
Research has shown it takes a couple of months to form a new habit, and the world is now working toward the better part of a year of habit-changing without an end in sight. We will emerge from this pandemic, and when we do, the world will be a completely different place. Our habits of old will get replaced by behavior more adept to the new norm. How and where we do our jobs will change, and for many, the actual what we do for work will also change.
At Kinzaa, we hope to be your resource to guide you through these challenging times. We’ll be posting opinion pieces, career advice, and thoughts on industry transitions to prepare you for a world of new norms. Never has there been a time when what you do for your career today will impact where you’ll be tomorrow. Stay well, be safe, and remember no matter how much social distance sets us apart, we are in this together.