There is a lot of talk about the New Normal. It’s a phrase that is run out whenever there is a change in the way things are to be done and, in many cases, it’s accurate. I remember it being used over the C-TPAT scheme that came in a few years ago and in all those column inches we gave over to the IMO SOLAS regulations back in 2016/17.
There can be very little doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do things and, probably, will have changed them, at least to some degree, permanently. But that’s not a bad thing. People, and some would argue the moving industry especially, are slow to change. They like things the way they are because it’s comfortable, doesn’t require too much thought, it’s easy.
Then comes along something like COVID-19 and there are no options left. Staying the same is no longer possible, so something has to change. And I have been quite surprised at how fleet of foot the moving industry has been with the rapid adoption of digital technology, home working and changed routines.
Many of the new ways will stick. They will stick long term, not because they are enforced but because they are better. Necessity is the mother of invention, according to Plato; and I guess he knew a thing or two. Some will become ‘normal’ and we might even look back on this time as being a time of innovation in which the whole industry made giant leaps forward instead of baby shuffles.
But to suggest that the way things are now will be the new normal is to misunderstand human nature. Yes, we might get good at communicating online, we might devise increasingly innovative ways of doing things without making physical contact, but we will never lose our herding instinct. What we have now is excellent. In some ways it’s better than what we had before. It’s new and novel. It might even be a bit exciting. But it’s not normal and it never will be. Just as soon as the world’s scientists figure out a way of protecting us against this virus, we’ll all be back in a huddle swapping stories and sinking Mojitos.
What we have now is not the new normal; it’s just as normal as we can get it. The long-term normal will be a far different place.