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The new normal of 2021

By NAINA GREWAL, 30 Nov, 2020
  • The new normal of 2021

Be it the way we engage in social behavior, self-care, national boundaries, commerce or the general conduct of society, the world will not be the same.

 

 

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2021 is the start of a decade like no other. With 2020 being engulfed in the flames of an unforeseen pandemic, much has been altered. 2021 will see changes across a multitude of platforms on both an individual and communal level. Be it the way we engage in social behavior, self-care, national boundaries, commerce or the general conduct of society, the world will not be the same.

Business


The economic outlook for 2021 does not look as strong as previous years, due to many industries facing ongoing adverse impacts from the pandemic. As per market research organization, IBISWorld, even though employment and economic activity are anticipated to slowly recover over the five years to 2025, consumer confidence is expected to fluctuate since the long-term consequences of the pandemic remain unknown. This means a less than favorable position regarding household finances, business conditions, employment, income and economic outlook. The Conference Board of Canada expects localized closures in some segments of business activity, holding back pace of recovery into at least mid-2021. Despite help from provincial and federal governments, affected sectors will continue to struggle. For businesses that do operate, e-commerce will be vital. For employees, more flexible timings and work from home options will be presented.


Travel


2021 is projected to be the year of travel recovery, in light of anticipated lifts in travel bans and restrictions, coupled with the hope of developments in potential vaccinations. In 2020, alternate forms of travel such as RVs and camping, saw a spike as air travel went down. However, as air travel makes a comeback, these forms will see a decline. Traveling will require utmost responsibility, though. It will be highly important to adhere to protocols, procedures and regulations exclusive to the destination. Planning when and where to go will be key in maintaining safety; preparing for a backup plan or even a potential lockdown at the destination can go a long way in dealing with unexpected circumstances. As such, travel insurance becomes a must, with the need to carefully read the fine print. Contactless touch points are to be expected along the travel journey. More leisure, optional travel is anticipated as compared to essential business travel, which will be replaced by virtual mediums.


Communication


Communication and social interaction will remain to be an area of change for 2021. In person, restrictions on social gatherings may go off and on. Milestone events such as weddings, funerals and birthdays will not take place with high attendance. Masks, sanitization and social distancing will prevail. Social media and online platforms of communication – both professionally and personally – will continue to be on the rise. Older generations, that may have previously gotten away with ignoring the onset of such platforms, will resort to employing them to decrease physical contact and get on board in situations where alternatives are simply no longer available. With increased social media usage, attention spans will shrink even further. As per marketing company, Asset Digital Communications, content that is only available for a short time, then disappears, will be prominent. Video, as a mode of communication, will increase in importance. However, fake news will be an area of concern as miscommunication travels fast.


Education


The safety and health of students, teachers and staff will remain a key priority for stakeholders when it comes to educational institutions and their operations in 2021. Although universities and schools will continue to offer instruction, there will be options available for those who want to sustain online learning. In class instruction will be suspended for many, which is a cause of concern for students who may benefit more from physical contact hours with teachers, professors, and tutors. Even institutions where in-person teaching is available, masks and other safety protocols will become mandatory. There may be limits in terms of class sizes and the hours of contact between different parties may be lessened versus regular frequencies. That said, online learning opens up the option of using analytics to measure performance and attendance, with increased potential for improvement, in addition to an arguably more structured approach.


Individual


On an individual level, self-care will be a huge focus for people going into 2021. Across communities, people will be making sure health comes first and mental health is not ignored. This may come in the form of increased meditation practices, at-home workout regimes and promoting healthy work-life balances. People will also be more paranoid in what people, places and items they are coming into contact with, as the need to constantly maintain self-sanitization will be dominant. That said, it can also be true that 2021 will be a hopeful year for many, filled with positive intentions to capitalize on newfound appreciation and gratitude, much like the calm after a storm. Overall, the only certain thing about 2021 is uncertainty. Businesses will continue to see downturn, with a change in the way they operate. Travel industries continue to be impacted, despite a projected increase in travel – only with a new onset of checklists. Education will see a new way of transferring and sharing information. Communication will be altered when it comes to in-person interaction and virtual forms will take prevalence. Finally, individuals will focus more on the self than ever before, while integrating healthy changes into lifestyles. Informing oneself of the anticipated changes coming across these facets will pave the way for more inner satisfaction and economic prosperity in 2021.

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