The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many changes to our everyday lives, and some of them may be here to stay even after the virus is behind us. Most of these adaptations have been aimed at reducing human contact and helping to slow the spread of the virus, but they’ve made tasks more convenient and efficient for people as well. These changes include curbside pickup at stores, grocery delivery, working from home, virtual events, and more, and they have us wondering why things weren’t done this way in the first place!
Many of these changes save us time and energy, and they represent a lifestyle change that may be hard to reverse. Employees working from home, for instance, have learned how to effectively collaborate with coworkers and clients via video conferencing and electronic communication. Many of them may find they can work just as well, if not better, from home. Many trends that have come from COVID-19 all allow for the same results: spending more quality time at home with your family or taking more time for yourself.
With everything from late night television to dance competitions going virtual, many people have come to find virtual experiences just as rewarding as attending in-person. It's certainly a lot cheaper to attend a business conference or a music concert from your living room, and it eliminates the added stress of travel, parking, traffic, etc. It also allows people to participate in an event that otherwise may not have been to attend in-person. With a virtual event there’s no need to think about time off from work or finding a babysitter. In some cases, there could be an added incentive to attend an event virtually such as exclusive extra content or behind-the-scenes access for audience members at home. While in-person events are certain to return once the pandemic has subsided, virtual events could continue to be a normal and expected alternative, as well as an additional revenue stream for many businesses.
Delivery and Pickup
Online shopping has become even simpler than it already was and is now offered at more stores than ever before. In an effort to limit in-person contact, restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses have expanded their delivery and pickup services. Using store pickup or delivery can save you hours of walking around stores, giving you more time at home with your family. Many small businesses have been pushed to expand to an online shopping platform – something they probably rarely considered before COVID-19. Even service-based businesses that were not allowed to accept walk-in clients during the pandemic have shifted to online scheduling assistants. Although delivery fees can add up overtime, you can also save money by avoiding the impulse buys you could potentially make while waiting in line or wandering through a store looking for the items you went there for.
Working remotely comes with a variety of pros and cons. Some employees have to watch small children or monitor their child’s remote schooling while working, which could be distracting in some circumstances. But, in many cases remote employees have been able to successfully balance work and family life, and proven to their employers that they are just as efficient as they were in the office. Because of this, remote work could become a preferred lifestyle for those with young children at home. It allows parents more time with their children during the work week, and could help families save money on child care costs. Not having a commute to work also allows employees to save time, not to mention money on gas and wear-and-tear on their vehicles.
Allowing working from home can also save businesses money. If a business moves its entire work force to remote work, they won't have to pay rent or a mortgage on office space. Other businesses that move a higher percentage of their workers to remote work may be able to hire more employees if they do not have to plan around limited desk space or parking constraints in an office environment.
The current challenge faced by many employers is navigating the implications of social distancing and contact rules within the office, and that is not likely to go away overnight. Whether new guidelines are created or people just want to feel safe and comfortable, it is likely that sanitization will continue to be top of mind after the pandemic.
As families were forced into isolation, digital gift cards became a new way to celebrate birthdays and holidays. Customers are moving away from cash and credit card purchases in stores in order to limit contact with the cashier or to refrain from having to touch the pin pad. Self-service checkout lines have also become popular for people who may have been hesitant to try them before.
Vendors are trying to stay on top of all forms of payment that are currently available. This includes Square or tap-to-pay options that do not require the customer to touch anything besides their card. Money transfer applications such as Apple Pay, PayPal, and Venmo also make it easy to transfer money to friends and family members without seeing them.
This flexibility with payment choices isn’t likely to disappear any time soon. Many businesses have invested significant resources into being able to accept payments in various different ways, and will likely keep those changes in place even after the pandemic is over.
Although travel came to a near-standstill at the beginning of the pandemic, people are slowly starting to venture out again. However, instead of jumping on a plane to a faraway destination, people are exploring more local attractions. Road trips are making a comeback even for longer trips that people would normally fly for. Many people have opted for outdoor recreational activities or isolated accommodations such as a private cabin or home. Although air travel is likely to pick up again once COVID-19 is under control, researchers believe travel trends from the pandemic will continue to shape the future.
Although all of the changes brought on by COVID-19 may have seemed like a disruption to our lives at first, many of them have proven to be effective, efficient, and in some cases, preferred. Many of these changes have saved us money and time – allowing more attention to the important parts of life like family and human connection.