Embracing the New Normal – Life After COVID-19
The shock of staying at home more than normal has begun to wear off and Americans are starting to assimilate themselves into the “new normal.” As COVID-19 has traveled around the world, vast numbers of workers have found themselves working from home for extended periods for the first time. Many of them are learning how to manage their own time and use technology to make the transition as seamless as possible.
As many companies and their employees realize that telecommuting is very feasible and comfortable, what seemed like an unfortunate tragedy could accelerate a trend that was already underway.
With the advent of technology, applications, and high-speed internet becoming more affordable and reliable, the home has become the personal and job headquarters for busy people looking for ways to better manage their lives. Everyone has become more comfortable with trading commuting time with quality “me” time and are spending a lot more time on pursuits that give them joy, purpose, and pleasure.
Telecommuting has been on the rise. A Global Workplace Analytics analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data between 2005 and 2018 found that working at home has grown by 173% between 2005 and 2018 and that “5 million employees (3.6% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time.” Those figures exclude the self-employed.
The primary reason is simple: working from home provides a better quality of life. In its Global Workspace Survey, flexible workspace provider IWG found that “80% of workers in the U.S. would choose a job that offered flexible working options, including working from home, over a job that didn’t, and [30%] of people value being able to choose their work location over an increase in vacation time.” It also found that “more than two-fifths of U.S. workers see commuting as the worst part of their day.”
With millions now working from home out of necessity and ordering take-out and grocery delivery or pickup to adhere to health officials’ guidelines, consumer’s attitudes towards telecommuting and online food shopping are likely to change. More people will likely realize that it’s not as hard as they once thought. Everyone is forming new habits and establishing new norms.
In the short term, marketers will need to find ways to be helpful to people trying to meet their most basic needs. And in the long term, we’ll all need to adapt to this “new normal” and work to understand what it means for all aspects of life in America when home becomes more people’s new headquarters.