It’s hard to believe, but only a few short months ago, life continued as it had done for decades. The world slowly changed in the ebb and flow of political movements or technological progress. Then, all of a sudden, life stopped. Or rather, history happened. Our experience of these past few months, the sacrifices we have made, the loved ones we might have lost will no doubt change us as people. But as the crisis slowly resolves, and our nations begin to open up, many people are grappling with the question: What will be the new normal?
Virtual and digital services have been thriving, with mobile video research becoming the go-to way for researchers to get in touch with the public and find out their thoughts. Here at Vidlet, we interviewed 40 people across the country and asked them 55 questions about the changes, hardships they have experienced, and how they imagine the “new norm” to be moving forward.
Restaurants and Eating
Previously eating out was a chance to cut loose and relax. Attention to hygiene standards behind the scenes, or the cleanliness of the wait-staff was not in our forefront thoughts. It was assumed restaurants maintained high standards, but what were high standards before aren't necessarily high standards now.
Trust has become the name of the game. Restaurants who demonstrate to customers their cleanliness will see their business return, those that don't may well struggle. “There are some places I wouldn't revisit because I just don't trust how clean they might be or the clientele therein” (Douglas S).
Working from Home
For over fifty years, futurists have predicted a revolution in work. Years from now, people won't commute, they'll simply work from home, especially if they have the chance to. Yet, when the technology to make such a momentous change became available, people stayed stuck in their old routines, until the pandemic.
One aspect that almost everyone working from home faces is virtual meetings, but with kids or pets at home, distraction is rife. Nor did the futurists of yesteryear question how two people working from home take calls at the same time. In this new normal, our focus time is punctuated by continually moving and adjusting, a distraction that can decrease our productivity.
In whatever ways we adapt, working from home is likely to continue with employers learning to trust their employees more and with our homes optimized for maximum work productivity!
General Cleanliness and Hygiene
Simply put, seeing is believing. Customers routinely expressed a desire to see good hygiene in practice in ways unthinkable before. Simple changes like an employee wiping down and disinfecting the cart handle before you enter the store have suddenly become an expected service. Customers don't want to risk compromising their health, and so, those businesses which are ahead of the curve in demonstrating their commitment to their customers' health, will build trust.
When listening to the views of customers and regular Americans, it's immediately clear how the pandemic has changed priorities and reshaped lives. Collectively there was a clear desire for change: for a healthier world, more conscious of infection control in every aspect of daily life, and more innovation around the “new norms” we’re forced to live in. Restaurants will need to improve overall hygiene, social distancing will be paramount, and many will need to adapt to working from home. One thing was clear, the world we left behind will not be the world of tomorrow.