Post-Covid19: 4 Guesses on What 'Social Norms' Will Look Like

Besides social distancing, masks-on when outside and regularly washing/sanitizing our hands, what’s next for us moving ahead with life?

Do you remember the first time seeing..

  • signs at the airport to dump liquids before boarding planes?
  • infrared cameras pointing at you at checkpoints before entering a country?
  • people fighting at bubble tea shops?

Me neither. 

However, these didn’t just ‘appear’ overnight. They are but scars and effects left by traumatic events, disasters..  pandemics. We have gotten so used to them that they have now become a new normal in our lives.

So, what will be the ‘new normal’ for this pandemic? The WHO has recently announced that the coronavirus may ‘never go away’ but countries around the world have already begun preparations for their citizens to resume their lives.

Besides social distancing, masks-on when outside, regularly washing/sanitizing our hands, which have already become second nature to us; what’s next for us, as social animals moving ahead with life?

Let’s take a look at 4 different ways how socializing will change now and in the years to come as the circuit breaker/quarantine measures are slowly eased.

Working from Home

For the lucky ones who can work from home, lines between work and home are blurred. However, this could possibly be the new norm as social distancing within office walls is almost impossible to enforce.

As tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter have recently announced that their staff may work from home until 2021, you might (or might not) be happy that you occasionally need stay at home more in the future.

More companies have come to realize that working remotely is completely feasible, would you be happier though, if traditional workspace looks something like this . .  . ?

Bosses and employers have realized the potential of cutting down on rent for large office spaces or co-working spaces and if a dedicated space is required for short term special projects, serviced apartments or serviced residences are next in line as perfect candidates for temporary work spaces.

As for those who are in the essential services/industries, it may be a norm to always work in face coverings, gloves or other protective gear.

It may not be comfortable, but there are ways to make the experience a little better – like plastic bands to relieve pressure off the ear and face shields.

Socializing with Family and Friends

Probably because we’re bored at home, we are connecting with our families and friends with technology. Could this be a new ‘social norm’?

What had used to be annual reunions with friends from college have now become a weekend thing and even gatherings with families – our traditional ways of social contact have changed to a more digital approach and arguably, more fitting in this 21st century. 

Just a simple laptop or smartphone with video & audio capabilities and you can have gatherings of any size in your apartment.

Well, the only bad thing about this is having Aunty Karen calling you anytime and asking when you’re gonna get married.

Essentials, Food and Groceries

In the past (wow that sounds like a lifetime ago), we used to visit the supermarket or the grocery store twice or thrice a week, lugging heavy plastic bags home.

Now, we’re spoiled with online delivery services. From Amazon, Redmart, (even from our familiar supermarkets who have gone online) to NTUC Fairprice, Sheng Siong and Cold Storage!

Not only do they provide the convenience of shopping without stepping out of the house, you can share the burden of shopping with your family members too! Simply share your login credentials, and anyone in your household is able to add items to your cart.

All you have to do next is tap on ‘checkout’ when your larder is running empty.

‘Dining out’ has also a different meaning now. Previously, it meant stepping out of home, spending some time traveling and dining in the actual restaurant. No dish washing required! However, in this middle of this pandemic, ‘dining out’ now means tapping images of food on your favourite delivery apps and having them delivered to your doorstep.

If you miss dining out with your friends, perhaps you can order on their behalf and have food delivered to their homes. Set up your laptop and voila! Dinner party!

Keeping fit and looking good

If all the talk about gorging is making you hungry, let’s now talk about making sure we’re healthy while we’re at home.

Gyms, swimming pools, country clubs across Singapore are now closed ever since the start of the circuit breaker. However, being healthy and fit is something you can do both at home or in public.

You could use your body weight to train and tone your body (Calisthenics), yoga to stretch, dance tutorials for cardio.. The possibilities are endless! Well, of course, you can’t really swim at home but that’s something we’re still. . .  er,  figuring out.

So, while you save on your gym membership fees, perhaps use that money to buy fresh ingredients and prepare healthy dishes, some home exercise equipment like yoga mats or donate it to charity!

Staying confined at home can be stressful for the mind too. Take care of your mental health; draw the line between work and play, meditate if that has helped in the past, and always be open to seeking professional advice from mental health experts.

Some say personal grooming is directly related to ensuring a healthy and happy mind. While you can forgo makeup (unless you have video calls very often for work meetings), remember to shower regularly, SHAVE and cut your hair. Beards and mustaches can get in the way of face masks, so it’s still important to mow the lawn.

So, these could stay with us for a while, and perhaps forever. As people around the world slowly realize what is essential and what isn’t, our consumerist habits will definitely change.

Will we continue cooking at home after unleashing our inner Gordon Ramsay? Cancel our gym memberships and continue working at home? Stop visiting supermarkets and have our essentials delivered to us?

The new normal should be welcomed with open arms as it will usher, us humans, into a new era. A pandemic-free era, fingers crossed.