17.11.20

Is Online Fine, or Just Making Do?


Covid has pushed us all online even more than we were before. Millions of people had never done a video call before March 2020 and now they are zooming with family and friends on a weekly basis. The same goes for working from home via online tool, online learning and more. So is it a good thing? Are we going to keep some of these behaviours going after Covid-19 goes away…assuming it will eventually?

Online Learning
Online learning is certainly here to stay and that is a good thing. Not only does it people can learn a new skill for fun to keep positive during lockdown, it actually empowers millions of people globally to develop there skills and move onwards and upwards towards better careers and more. For some people in very negative situations like being stuck in a low income job with no way or getting out online learning is a low cost way to up-skill and potentially go for a better job and all that goes with it. There are others in relationships where they are not allowed to go to evening classes or even have a job; online learning can empower those people to be able to see a way out. It is also amazing for integration and removing language barriers that can cause conflict and prejudice. Companies like Perfectly Spoken are so much more than just a language learning company, the same as YouTube is so much more than videos of kids playing Minecraft and people falling over. Online learning is a very powerful thing, and we are hopefully just seeing the real start of what can be done and how people can all benefit from it.

Online Working 
Working form home has pros and cons. It can be stressful; it can be lonely, and it can just be boring. For some people it isn’t even possible, a bus driver kind of has to actually be in the bus to drive it, for now! But there are positives to working from home. We are commuting less, we are seeing our families more (not always a positive when you are trying to finish some work with a child asking for food), we might even be getting more work done because there are less tea rounds, pointless meetings and lunch breaks. So, do we want to keep online and home working or go back to how it was? Well, it may well be a combination of both. Home working should now remain an option for those who benefit from it. But people who need to be in the office should also feel that’s OK too. Perhaps 2 day weeks in the office and the rest at home would be beneficial. Its better for the environment that’s for sure! It even keeps company over heads down which may just help businesses stay afloat.

Online Shopping
This one could be something we can live at least partially without. Most people seem to be ordering from Amazon like it was about to go out of business. Many of us are using online food shopping as well shopping for pretty much everything else. While we can’t really go to the high street shops it makes sense, but do we want it to carry on and are we willing to lose “real” shops? It is certainly easy to order things online, but it may have an environmental impact as well as an economic one. There is not right or wrong answer really but it’s one to think about.

Online Socialising
Zoom calls have become the norm, having dinner with friends on zoom, drinks, chats with grand parents and more. But while it is handy its fair to say it is far from a replacement. Most people are desperate to get back to meeting friends and family, hugging, laughing and generally being in contact with them. Dating kind of needs real world meeting too! Being single right now isn’t easy!

But, it is worth holding onto to a bit of the zoom culture. Those friends we only see once a year or less can now feel closer because of how normal video chatting has become and that has to be a good thing.

New Normal?
The question of whether or not this is how normal now is, or if we will return to how it was before, or maybe something in between is not one we can answer. As with most things it will probably be some kind of mixture that we are used to before it even happens. We should definitely celebrate the good bits of the situation, better contact with people far away, better learning opportunities, working from home etc but we should also remember and hold onto those things we don’t have right now but still hope come back.

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