So everywhere everybody is talking about the ‘new normal’ we will find ourselves in post COVID19.

But will it really be all that new and different? My friend and associate Mike O’Hagan recently asked this question on LinkedIn, reflecting that people appeared to be rapidly returning to their old ways. I posted this response, which I thought I would share here and expand on a little.

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So here’s my take on this.

– These ‘Black Swan’ events usually come with predictions of ‘there will be a new normal’.

– These predictions almost invariably prove to be wildly inaccurate. After Black Monday, the dot com crash of 2000 and the GFC we eventually got back to a familiar normality. Eventually markets regain confidence and things get back to where they were.  Collectively, people do seem to have amazingly short memories.

– Yes, the impact of COVID19 is on a different level to these previous events.

–  The longer term effects business wise are more likely to be around an acceleration of changes that were already in train. Work from home/telecommuting, remote meetings, businesses operating virtually, these were all trends that were there long before COVID19. All that has really happened is that the uptake on these trends has been massively accelerated.

–  Longer term social effects will most likely be around a greater awareness of the need to protect from pathogens. We once laughed at the clean freaks (think Niles from Frasier), but that may be closer to the new social norm.

–  Finally (and I say this maybe more in hope than anything else) I do think that as a society we will start to value more the caregivers, the healthcare workers, the first responders, all who put themselves at greater risk to help and protect us. Personally I think we should value them more than media celebrities and film stars.

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You can see Mike’s original LinkedIn post here

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