The past year has transformed nearly every aspect of our lives. The global pandemic has driven dramatic shifts in the way we work, socialise, and move around day-to-day.
This year we’ve experienced weekly webcam malfunctions, virtual parties and lots of Joe Wicks. Whilst we get ready to go back out into the world, it looks like some pandemic phenomenons are here to stay…
Here are 5 ways we think socialising might change:
1. No more handshakes.
Pre-pandemic, handshaking was a gesture to welcome and congratulate each other. Now, a year on since the pandemic began, and even the thought of shaking someone's hand may give us the heebie-jeebies.
As we venture back into society, it looks like most people will be declining a handshake, and instead adopting a low-contact way of greeting one another - by an elbow or foot tap!
2. Zoom will live on.
During the first lockdown in March, it took a matter of days for Zoom to become a household name. The video communication app soon became the go-to for meetings, exercise classes and virtual parties.
Zoom and other video call providers took over our personal and professional lives. The drastic leap we’ve witnessed in digital socialising looks as though it’ll keep rising, mainly thanks to the new work model called ‘flexible working’.
3. Say hello to flexible working.
The pandemic drove companies to close their offices and relocate to their homes. At first, it might have seemed a temporary set-up that would soon see a flood of people heading back to the office. But a year on, and it looks like the work-from-home movement is here to stay.
Many studies are emerging that show a mix between home and office working - also known as flexible working - provides a healthy balance between time needed for high productivity and in-person meetings.
4. Hugging will become more meaningful.
It's hard to believe that hugging was practically illegal a few months ago. But after so long without hugging family and friends, it seems to have heightened how we value touch.
The Government guidance still advises that we only hug close family and friends, but the sheer nature of having to be selective and careful as to who we give out hugs makes them that much more special.
5. Renewed relationship with nature
It took a global pandemic for us to appreciate our local area and backyards.
We’ve all lived through an incredibly hard time, but one thing that has kept us sane and given us escapism is nature. How many walks around the local park, river or fields have you done over lockdown? A fair few I can imagine! But it looks like this behaviour is here for the long haul due to its health and wellbeing benefits.