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Consuming for consuming goes out of style, living close to work, working more in the collective with business colleagues, or neighbors in the neighborhood. Covid-19 will review values and change society’s habits.
Covid-19 changed our lives. I am not talking here simply about changing the routine in these days of isolation, when we can no longer take walks in Minhocão or go to our favorite bars and restaurants. Yes, it all changed our daily lives – a lot. But my invitation to you is to think about the most profound changes, those transformations that should shape the reality around us and, of course, our lives after the new coronavirus drops the ball. So it might be better to change the tense of the sentence that opens this text and say that the coronavirus will change our lives. But how? What likely scenarios are beginning to emerge and should be imposed in the post-pandemic world?
Understanding what a new world this is is important to prepare for what lies ahead. Because one thing is certain: the world will not be as it was before, as biologist Átila Iamarino warned us.
“The world has changed, and that world (from before the coronavirus) is gone. Our life will change a lot from now on, and someone who tries to maintain the status quo of 2019 is someone who has not yet accepted this new reality ”, said in this interview for BBC Brasil Átila, who has a doctorate in microbiology from the University of São Paulo and postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. “Changes that the world would take decades to pass, that we would take a long time to implement voluntarily, we are having to implement in the scare, in a matter of months”, he says.
Still in this line, there was a view among experts that a symbol was missing for the end of the 20th century, a time highly marked by technology. And this milestone is the coronavirus pandemic, according to historian and anthropologist Lilia Schwarcz, a professor at the University of São Paulo and Princeton, in the USA, in an interview with Universa. “[British historian Eric] Hobsbawm said that the long 19th century did not end until after the First World War [1914-1918]. We use the time stamp: it turned the century, everything changed. But it doesn’t work like that, human experience builds time. He is right, the long 19th century ended with the First War, with deaths, with the experience of mourning, but also with what it meant about destructive capacity. I think that our pandemic marks the end of the 20th century, which was the century of technology. We had a great technological development, but now the pandemic shows these limits ”, says Lilia.
Several international futurists say that the coronavirus works as an accelerator of futures. The pandemic anticipates changes that were already underway, such as remote work, distance education, the search for sustainability and the demand on the part of society, so that companies are more socially responsible.
Other changes were more embryonic and perhaps not so noticeable yet, but now they take on new meaning in the face of the revision of values caused by an unprecedented health crisis for our generation. As examples, we can mention the strengthening of values such as solidarity and empathy, as well as the questioning of the model of society based on consumerism and profit at any cost.
“Life after the virus will be different,” futurist Amy Webb, a professor at the New York University School of Business, told Newsday. “We have a choice to make: do we want to confront beliefs and make significant changes for the future or simply preserve the status quo?”
The transformations are countless and include politics, economics, business models, social relations, culture, social psychology and the relationship with the city and public space, among other things.
The starting point is to be aware that the effects of the pandemic must last for almost two years, as the World Health Organization estimates that it will take at least 18 months to have a vaccine against the new one. This means that countries must alternate periods of openness and isolation during that period.
Given this perspective, how are leisure, culture, gastronomy and entertainment activities in the center and throughout the city during this period? What will change next? These are still open questions, but there are signs that allow us to reflect.
To understand these and other issues and identify the likely scenarios, I sought to know what trends the futurists, researchers and national and international research bureaus are tracing for the post-pandemic world. From these readings and also from a look at the issues that concern downtown São Paulo and urban life in general, I made a list with some of these trends, which you can read below.
The public health crisis is defined by some researchers as a reset, a kind of watershed capable of causing profound changes in people’s behavior. “A crisis like this can change values,” says Pete Lunn, head of the behavioral research unit at Trinity College Dublin, in an interview with Newsday.
“Crises force communities to come together and work more as teams, whether in the neighborhoods, between employees of companies, whatever … And this can affect the values of those who live in that period – just as it happens with generations that lived wars ”.
We are already beginning to see these signs in Brazil – and in downtown São Paulo, with several examples of people coming together to help the elderly, for example.
The financial crisis resulting from the pandemic alone will be a reason for people to save more and review their consumption habits. As the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies says, the idea of ”less is more” will guide consumers going forward.
But the lack of money at the moment will not be the only reason. People should review their relationship with consumption, reinforcing a movement that was already happening. “Consuming for consuming came out of‘ fashion ’”, writes on the website The Future of Things Sabina Deweik, master in semiotic communication at PUC and researcher on behavior and trends.
The flip side of this process is a further questioning of the capitalism model based purely and simply on maximizing profits for shareholders. “The coronavirus brought to the business and personal context the need to revisit priorities. What before in an organization generated financial results, persuading, encouraging consumption, increasing production and sales, today it doesn’t work anymore ”, says Sabina.
“Today, it is necessary to think about the value given to people, the environmental impact, the generation of a positive impact on society or the engagement with a cause. It is necessary to look definitively with confidence for employees since the home office is no longer an alternative but a necessity. It is necessary to rethink the consumer society and reflect what is essential. ”
The pandemic will accentuate people’s fear and anxiety and stimulate new habits. Thus, health care and well-being, which will be on the rise, should extend to public places, especially closed ones, as the fear of crowded places must remain.
“When people return to public spaces, after the end of restrictions, companies should invest in strategies to engage consumers in a profound way, creating places that bring them the feeling of being at home,” says a report from WGSN, one of the largest trend research bureaus in the world.
Here is a point of attention for bars, restaurants, cafeterias, gyms and coworkings, which must redesign their spaces to reduce crowding and facilitate access to hygiene products, such as gel alcohol. Shared spaces, such as coworkings, have a great challenge in this new scenario.
One of the ten trends pointed out by the futurist Rohit Bhatgava is what he calls “ghost restaurants”, a term used to describe establishments that work only with delivery. As the possibility of new waves of the pandemic in the near future, the restaurant sector must be aware of changes in its business model, and the delivery service will remain on the rise and can become the main source of revenue in many cases.
In response to social isolation, artists and cultural producers started to bet on shows and shows online, as well as virtual tours to museums gained more prominence. This behavior should evolve into what can be called immersive cultural experiences, which try to connect the real with the virtual through the use of technologies that are already out there, but which should spread, such as augmented and virtual reality, virtual assistants and smart machines.
According to the international consulting firm Gartner’s Hype Cycle study, immersive experiences are one of the three major trends in technology. We highlight the cultural area here, but this also extends to other sectors, such as sports, retail travel, as indicated in the report A Post-Corona World, produced by Trend Watching, a global trend platform.
The home office was already a reality for many people, from freelancers and professionals to employees of companies that already adopted the model. But this modality will grow even more. With the pandemic, more companies – of different sizes – started to organize themselves to work with this model. In addition, remote work avoids the need to be in crowded spaces, such as buses and subways, especially during peak hours.
This was already a trend, and living in downtown São Paulo has become an object of desire for many people precisely because of this, among other reasons. But, with the fear of new waves of contagion, living close to work, to the point of walking and not using public transport, should become an even more valued asset.
With social isolation, lives exploded, especially on Instagram. Internet sales too, becoming an option also for stores that until then used only the physical location. Well, think about joining things together: that’s what shopstreaming is all about. An Instagram version of the old ShopTime.
In a world in constant and rapid transformation, updating your knowledge is a matter of survival in the market (besides being a pleasure, right?). But the era of uncertainties opened by the pandemic sharpened this feeling in people, who now, in the first moment, have more contact with online courses in order to learn new things, have fun and / or prepare for the post-pandemic world. After all, many jobs are being closed, some activities are losing space while other services are gaining market share.
If the search for knowledge is on the rise, the channel for this from now on will be distance education, whose expansion will accelerate. In this context, a new figure must enter the picture: virtual mentors. Trend Watching is betting that new platforms or services should emerge that connect mentors and teachers to people who want to learn about different subjects.
Author: CLAYTON MELO Source El País