What is the new normal?

As Covid restrictions at home and abroad start to ease, a feeling of normality begins to surface; gone are the mandates, the scanning in and selected compulsory mask wearing. Life starts to feel good again, as if the last two years were just a fever dream. And yet, nothing is the same. During awkward silences we no longer talk about the weather, we talk about Covid, who has it, how bad it was and what we think of the Government’s handling of it.

We used to wake up in the morning, shower and drive into the office for work. For some of us, we wake up, shower and walk down the hallway to work, before mowing the lawn at lunchtime.

The ‘boss’ now counts ‘faces on screens’ rather than ‘bums in seats’. Video meetings have gone from the exception to the norm and a sense of etiquette has developed – if 6 people are on a video call and one person has their camera off, we consider it rude. Conversely, if you join a video call of 25 people and you are the only person with your camera on, you then try and discreetly turn it off without anyone noticing.

Beyond Covid, the feeling of change continues. Introduction of the ‘ute tax’, saw sales soar prior to 1 April 2022 and the escalating price of petrol at the pump combined with the increasing momentum of electric cars means the choice of whether to buy combustion or electric no longer seems obvious.

Which brings us to the supply chain, even if you did want to buy a new car, you’d struggle to get one without waiting 6 months. The brand of your next fridge is less about the brand and personal preference, but more about wait time and delays.

The future of housing and construction is unclear given the combination of the recent housing shortage, lack of building supplies and labour, rising interest rates and record inflation.

We cannot talk about the unprecedented world we currently live in without mentioning the war in the Ukraine and its negative impact on the ‘stability’ of Europe and globally.

With so much significant simultaneous local and international change It seems there’s another form of ‘long Covid’, a world of dichotomies seems to exist. We want to get back to the way things were, but can we? Instead, we may be entering a new normal – whether we like it or not.

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