What will the post-quarantine landscape look like?

It might feel like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, and to a certain extent this is true; hopefully, the worst of this dreadful pandemic’s effects are now behind us. But in reality, the road ahead is a long one and we still face many challenges – personally, professionally, economically and socially – in the weeks, months and possibly even years to come.

What’s undeniable is that life in the near future is going to take some getting used to. Here are some of the changes that we can all expect to see – and, like it or not, will be required to adapt to – moving forward.

Social Distancing and intimate gatherings
This one’s here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. As governments slowly begin to ease lockdown measures and we find ourselves once again able to visit loved ones and mix with friends, most of us will respect the ongoing need to maintain a safe distance from one another. We’ll see evidence of this in supermarkets and retail stores, and likely even parks, beaches and outdoor venues.

As social lives begin to return to normal, most of us will rely more on smaller gatherings in place of attending large-scale events, conferences and concerts. Many of us will stick to a small ‘bubble’ of friends and family, to minimise the risk of contagion.

The wearing of masks in public
Although some countries have made the wearing of masks in public obligatory, others have left it to the discretion of the public. Either way, we’ll need to get used to it, because it’s something we’re going to see a lot more of. Luckily for the image-conscious, the fashion industry has got our backs. So if the surgical-style doesn’t rock your boat, there will be something – from leopard-print to camo – that does.

Home deliveries
Since lockdown began, home deliveries have seen a massive surge in demand. From Amazon, to DIY, fashion, supermarkets and garden centres, all sectors have had to adapt to the new situation in which we find ourselves, most through augmenting their online offering. This is probably a trend that will continue into the future, as many people – particularly the elderly and those in ‘at risk’ groups – continue to avoid crowded places such as shopping centres.

Limited seating in restaurants
Restaurants are now beginning to re-open – but with limited capacity seating – so the dining experience is going to be a little different for those that do choose to eat out. We’ll probably see an increase in outdoor seating areas, more akin to the European model. But when the British weather inevitably lets us down, expect indoor seating to be much less crowded than we’re used to, with greater distances between tables. One thing’s for sure: you’ll need to book ahead!

Return of the ‘staycation’
Staycations saw a surge in popularity a few years ago, and it’s likely that 2020 will be another big year for vacationing at home. With money tight for many families, and uncertainty regarding international travel, it might be time to pitch a tent in the back garden, break out the G&T and make the best of a good old British summer!

Working from home
There’s been a push in recent years for employers to adopt a more flexible attitude towards WFH, and there’s no doubt that Covid-19 has propelled the cause forward several years – perhaps even decades. Many of us have had to adapt – and quickly – to new WFH arrangements, hurriedly putting in place the required infrastructure and communications required to facilitate and support a home-based workforce. It seems fairly likely that many companies will maintain these arrangements for some time.

Greater transparency and clarity in communications
There’s no doubt that the events of recent months have been unsettling for the majority of us. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, most of us have experienced some degree of anxiety regarding health, working arrangements, finances and also changing social norms. As we adapt and society shifts to accommodate these necessary changes, it’s essential that communication channels remain open, clear and transparent. Clear communication is more important than ever: to alleviate anxiety, communicate essential health information and to simply stay in touch with one another.