After two months of being homebound, I have been able to witness the good and the bad of this isolation strategy. For anyone with pre-school or primary-age kids, it's interesting to say the least. And we have learnt more about our colleagues' lives since virtually co-existing.
But I won't focus on the challenging aspects of COVID-19 - we get to hear and read about them everyday.
There are plenty of good things we would not have experienced if it wasn't for this incident:
- We are learning new skills (I've taken up coffee roasting).
- Parks are thriving with folk making time to exercise and engage.
- Peak hour doesn't exist.
- Local grocers and corner stores - the old community hubs - are reawakening from a twenty-year slumber.
- Air quality is improving in some places.
- Social cohesion, ironically, is also improving.
Some commentators are recognising this shift as a return to our basic existence or physiological needs. Supported by the well-known theories of Abraham Maslow and Clayton Alderfer, people during these times of crisis differentiate between their needs and their wants and focus their expenditure on the long-term and necessary.
As we shift slowly and perhaps only partially toward pre-COVID lifestyles, it will be an important time for our industry. Has this forced adjustment helped us to become more resilient? Are we more effective in remotely operating our systems? Have we learnt more about our work colleagues these two months than in two years? Has it given us time to reflect on the value of our industry and the essential services it provides? And have we become more empathetic toward our customers?
It will be interesting to see whether we've been long enough in our forced new habits for them to endure. For some of them, I hope so.
Peter Morison, Chief Executive Officer