What's This "New Normal"?
Most of the time, when I hear people talk about the "New Normal" they're talking about face-masks, social distancing and remote working. But I think the new normality we face will impact us much more broadly than that.
I see a confluence of three factors;
- COVID-19 and future more frequent pandemics,
- Climate change, and,
- Global societal changes.
The result of these will, in my opinion, create a new normal that is underpinned by significant societal change leading to a world where we are all challenged to frequently adapt to our new, rapidly changing environments.
I'll be looking out for companies and technologies that are ready for the new normal. Let me know if there's a company you think I should take a look at.
Both, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change are already causing changes and shifts in our societies. I want to touch on just a couple of points relating to this, that I hope stimulate wider thinking - Pandemic driven change, and, Climate driven change.
Pandemic driven change
Companies have been forced into adopting digital strategies that were previously consider too complex, risky or costly. This is resulting in companies that have decided to fully adopt distributed teams, others that will try to bring some staff back into the office for at least a few days a week, and a few that will try to get back to the old normal as soon as they can.
Amongst all of this, workers are learning new skills, discovering that they don't need to choose employment, housing, or schools that allow them to commute to an office. Indeed, a friend recently moved his family from London to Cornwall, as there was no longer a need to commute or "be in town".
Employers are discovering they don't need to spend fortunes on real-estate and that they can now reach previously unreachable talent, globally.
For both employee and employer, a new world awaits, with new reach, new competitors and new potential.
But this doesn't come for free. New, distributed companies will emerge, and under the radar, they will take previously untouchable companies by surprise.
Employees, or perhaps to break that paradigm too, "workers", will struggle with the human side of remote working, most notably mental and physical health, and employers will struggle to find the balance between their obligations to care for their workers and intrusive invasions of personal privacy.
Insurance, taxation, crime, housing and real-estate in general will all feel the change, too. These will, in turn, be catalysts for further societal change.
Further reading on this topic
I've selected four posts below that touch on some of the topics above. Carry on reading, for more thoughts on Climate driven changes.
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Climate driven change
From a personal point of view, the effect of climate change influenced our house-buying decision for our last two homes. Specifically, we prioritised living on a hill due to increased flooding in the area, and then chose somewhere where altitude-cooled air would provide a couple of degrees relief from the warmer weather.
Given the continued, increasing severity of the wild fires on the West Coast of the USA, I find it hard to believe that Seattle and California will continue to be attractive locations for people or companies.
Combined with the sudden increase in distributed working, we will see migration of the workforce away from these areas, across the USA and across the planet. This will not be restricted to those regions, either, and could effect global wealth distribution.
Companies will find investment and financial performance will become more intrinsically linked to their impact on the planet. Some will play this to their advantage, others will pay lip-service, and some will play games to give themselves time (for example, I wonder how many companies will claim a reduction in their carbon footprint when they send workers to work from home and no longer maintain expensive, CO2 emitting company buildings).
Tech For Good and Sustainability are a primary focus on this website, check out some of the articles below or jump straight to the themed sections here:
Tell me what you think
What do you think? Share your thoughts with me, and leave a comment below.