What is the new normal really? I don’t think it exists or anyone knows yet. Until the pandemic is effectively conquered, instead of being downplayed, we really can’t make many long-term and strategic decisions and plans.
Businesses are still struggling to survive and feeling the effects of the turmoil of the economic stimulus provided (or not provided) to them over the last 10 months. Many business owners are questioning what the “new normal” will look like.
Will shopping malls reemerge as volume sales locations – or will it be on-line?
Will high-density and high-rise office spaces ever return?
What will occupancy levels look like in bars and restaurants?
What will small downtowns look like?
Will classrooms ever be filled with students again?
Will stadiums and auditoriums be allowed to hold events that draw a large crowd?
Permanent and significant changes will be evidenced in the education space, healthcare, high-density office and group event environments, restaurants and bars, transportation, and in retail. It has been very impressive to watch some companies learn and adapt during very trying times and persevere, and some have even grown. The new ‘footprint’ is yet to exist that can then either be based upon or copied from others. The continued learning and adaptations on the fly as new challenges are encountered is the closest to a normal that exists and the survivors are doing it now. Companies must remember they have history as a guideline – both long term experience as well as recent events and situations. Companies will need to each develop their new normal based upon their own historical experience, their recent pivots, and commitments, trends they are seeing develop, and respond "all in" to their new ‘resilient’ company models.
Education has also been significantly impacted. In-person learning, remote learning, and hybrid models – whoever heard of such things? It has been a real challenge for teachers but has been a nightmare for children and their families. I applaud families that have adapted their at-home activities to accommodate the education of their children. Some have adapted their work schedules and even left their jobs to work with their children. Others are just helping their kids to understand what is happening to them in this crazy world. Some are relying upon private expertise and external resources to supplement what school systems and they as parents can offer their children themselves. Remember, it is a developing hybrid model that will continue into the future. There will continue to be the need for evolving models in education as well as business.
Adaptation is key. Using past experience and what we have learned over the course of the last year will help to develop a clearer picture of the “new normal”. Stay positive. Brighter days are ahead.