We’ve had to alter the way we live. And it hasn’t happened on this scale since bombers were terrorising cities during World War II. A potentially defining moment in history.
Yet, there could be a silver lining.
We are forced to rethink how we live and work. We are required to innovate new ways to replace our old habits. Some that only exists for no better reason than, “we’ve always done it this way so shut up, Mark”.
Once this is all over, maybe more people could stick to working remotely. To commute less. To have the work come to you. Before 2020 we were stuck in a model that was mostly created for factories needing the workers to turn up and switch on the machines.
In a world where you can video call from Sydney to Helsinki with a click of a button using a device no bigger than a third of a deck of cards, the factory model is painfully dated.
What about the negative effects of our chronic financial stress. If we’d commute less we could live further from the cities. And not cram the trendy inner city suburbs with mortgages bleeding us dry.
The services we now access in our cities would be available to us closer to home. Near where we live and work. But they would be better, more community orientated.
Now it’s mostly bigger chains and corporations* who can afford to pay the city rents and take risks. They can afford to try. But in the future of our spread out suburbs there’d be more customer focused small businesses.
Because the rents would be lower, these services, shops, gyms, cafes and restaurants would better. Warm and personalised, with people who care about the customer, you. That’s because the small business could focus on better service instead of just worrying about the overheads. Or worse, pleasing the shareholders and boardroom.
Because of the reduced commute there would be less pollution. We could take deeper inhales of fresh air instead of stale exhaust pipe fumes. How much better would all of us feel, both physically and mentally?
Less time in the floodlighted office building, and more time at home closer to nature. We could switch our weekly commuting hours for walks and time outdoors. All with the family and friends we care about. Not just a random foul-smelling, bad mannered co-worker with the personality of a diced cucumber, we’re forced share a workplace with.
In the long term, what would be the positive effects on us, and the society as a whole? Not only to our healthcare bills, but to the future of our heating planet.
In the middle of a hardship, it’s possible to see a healthier future we thought impossible.
*I am not in the camp which thinks big businesses are all evil. They employ a lot of people. Some of them do real good for the society. Besides, how good are the chippies (fries) at McDonald’s?