BIMBeing: The Journey #44
#44 – Will it change us…
Photograph by Alexas Fotos from Pexels.
Whilst we continue to be stuck in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about the future; in fact, this may be one of the few things to keep you sane during lockdown. Many will be longing for a return to ‘normality’, whatever normality is. Seeing family and friends, days out, beer gardens, holidays and the re-opening of gyms seems to be top of the social media wish-lists, with some unlikely unsung heroes also climbing the priority ladder – hairdressers. But, all of these things aside, how will things change once this crisis is over? Will the post-apocalypse world be different to the ‘normality’ that we left behind? I believe that the current situation, and the changes that follow, could be the maker and breaker of many things; will we all think a little differently once finally released from the confines of our homes? I’m not talking specifically about BIM, I’m not even talking exclusively about construction. Here are 3 areas where I think we’ll see change:
I genuinely believe that peoples priorities may change. The things that we need may start to come before the things that we want; it could be the making of real core values. Will it still be a priority to waste money on pointless items and spend every night down the pub, or will quality time with family and friends come to the forefront? Maybe the convenience of being able to shop and purchase anything we want at any time of the day or week will no longer be taken for granted? Maybe, instead of chasing endless monetary promotions people will start to look for opportunities offering the best work/life balance, with favourable hours and flexible working arrangements being worth more than another few pounds in the bank. The importance of physical health and mental wellbeing should certainly climb the priority list as well, these things are more valuable than anything you can buy with money. Will everyone continue to work until 11pm, shut away from the family, or will they stop to have dinner with the kids? Sometimes a crisis like this can change the perspective – a small amount of good may come from this pandemic yet.
Start-ups, Freelancers and the Self Employed
Not sure if this is a positive or negative, I think it may be both. Will we see a shift in the typical debate of risk vs reward? Many choose to be self-employed for a number of reasons, the financial benefits often being a factor. But will the current crisis see that change? Will people begin to favour stable employment and the security benefits that entail over the risk of self-employment and freelancing? Will the reduction in monthly earnings being traded for job security? As much as those on furlough may be missing their 20% or more reduction, they still have an income and a job. Many of those that are self-employed will have seen their incomes drop to 0, with government help still a long way down the road and bills to pay in the meantime. These people will certainly not forget the pain they are currently experiencing.
Perhaps the biggest potential loss here is in start-ups and innovations. Will people still be willing to risk leaving a permanent position to start their own company? How will this harm innovations? A lot of new technologies and processes come from the great minds of individuals that take the risk to start their own venture. There is a potential, at least in the short term, that nerves surrounding income security will ward-off potential innovators and company starters. Many industries could suffer here and Construction is certainly one of them. I truly hope that this is not the case, but I think the reality is many people will be turned away by the risk that has now been laid bare.
Consumer level credit
This one, for me, could be a huge change to our everyday lives – and a good one at that. Will people finally sit back and re-think their spending habits? Finance and monthly instalments are all well and good when you’ve got a secure, regular income. But, in a time of crisis, can you keep up? Is a 20% reduction in salary going to have a significant impact on your financial situation? Worse still, if you’re self-employed or have lost your job altogether, what can you no longer afford to pay for? Your car? That massive TV you didn’t need? Your oven and microwave? Your carpets and furniture? The enormous hoard of clothes you bought online? That PayPal credit from a stint of shopping on EBay? Is it time to think actually, I shouldn’t be buying things that I can’t afford just because I’m offered low interest credit? Buying something with cash today is safe, paying for things tomorrow always presents some level of risk and unfortunately, in times like these, people will come unstuck. A reduction in unnecessary consumer credit could be a real positive.
There are many other changes that could follow, but these three for me are the big ones. Of course, there is always a distinct possibility that people will simply forget this pandemic ever happened after two weeks of drinking in the sunshine and continue in the same way that they always have. Returning to normality is not necessarily a bad thing, but we should all try to take make some positive changes on the other side. Some of the best improvements, developments and inventions are born from negative situations; why not improve ourselves after this one?