As we approach the season of human connection, we tend to ponder and reflect on the kind of year we have had. We consider the good the bad, what we did like and what we did not, but most importantly we take stock of what we would or could do differently. 2021 was a year like no other, and as human beings we are perhaps more appreciative of the simpler things in life and the things we take for granted. Has the gap between what we have and what we want got smaller, has it closed or are we now even more demanding of things we don’t have or have missed out on over the last few months. Human behavior is unique in that no two characters are the same, none the less, let’s consider where we might do things a little different.
The last year has seen our work habits change significantly, this change in the way we work has had a considerable impact on how we structure our days, which in return nudges our human behavior in new directions. The work from home routine most of us have grown accustomed to over the last year is slowly evaporating and being replaced by either full scale return to work mandates or hybrid work routines that employers are testing and piloting in the hope that a sweet spot of productive efficiency can be achieved without compromising the skills they have at their disposal. Will our work days be better from an experience perspective once we are back in the office, immersed in the social as well as structured environment of employability, or will we yearn for Zoom, Teams and the ability to get things done with a simple SMS or email, as opposed to seeking out real human connection in order to facilitate productivity.
Then of course there is how we get from point A to point B. Are we ready for the chaos and hub bub of public transport and the associated lottery of vaccinated or unvaccinated that may be traveling at the same time? Has the last year forced us to consider embracing one of the many ride-based apps that offer greater transparency, security and predictability than simply hopping on the London Underground. Uber, Gett and Bolt to name a few enable the traveler to ride in a pseudo bubble of confidence. Airline travel is no longer as simple as booking a flight and boarding a plane, and with the holidays around the corner and the inevitable desire of the human race to be with loved ones, there is bound to be a change in how we connect. The tedious testing regimes required to travel abroad, coupled with a not insignificant cost will surely inhibit travel. PCR before, lateral flow after, complex Passenger locater forms to complete and a potential quarantine on either side diminish the joy of travel. This along with the large costs associated with undertaking these tests could mean we opt for another year of digital connection or are we ready to pay the price to connect and touch.
A life in isolation and without actual contact can have a direct impact on how we present ourselves. Let’s face it, the year should not have been one of glam Instagram posts and yet it was. We still managed to show the world our better side when we wanted to. The cool, trendy fun element of living through a global pandemic was displayed on social media. In truth though the year was spent half and half, half dressed and half happy. The need to brush teeth and put on clothing below the waist evaporated as meetings were in the ether and the senses of touch and smell gave way to an overdependence on digital sight and sound. Our favorite suit gave way to our favorite pair of slippers and when we did venture out the new must have fashion item, the mask or face covering certainly divided opinion and hid the smiles from the scowls.
None the less as we stumble back to normality, we will need to consider the road ahead and how we wish to continue. Will we accelerate back towards what we once knew and the comfort of doing what we have always done or will we have learnt from 2021 that alternatives to productive behavior do exist and embracing them could enhance our lives and lifestyles.