I venture out of home on rare occasions since the lockdown in South Africa came into effect on 26 March 2020. Mostly it has been for going to get essential supplies and in some cases, because we previously had certificates for being essential services providers, to see clients and do work for them. Although there is definitely more buzz and movement in the streets now compared to April, I am impressed at how, generally speaking, South Africans are adapting.

From diligently wearing masks to social distancing, it appears that overnight, we have adopted some new habits that have even had an impact on culture and a way of doing business. Despite these drastic changes to everyone’s way of life, there are many people, around the continent, who still believe we will β€œgo back to normal.”

If you go to most public places across South Africa for instance, you will find people from all walks of life wearing their face masks and when in queues, mostly keeping the 1,5m social distance. It is difficult to imagine how we got back to abandoning such good public health habits once a vaccine for COVID-19 is available.

I have bad news for such people, there’s no going back to normal. Or, if I’m being optimistic, let’s wait and see what happens in 12 months.

As I said above, we, globally, have adopted some new habits. By now, these habits are becoming well entrenched and are our β€œnormal.” Take the example of business meetings. With air travel being restricted for several months, restaurants and coffee shops closed, offices generally closed for some months, we all have become used to meeting over video conferencing applications. This, I think you can admit too, has proved more efficient, cost-effective, and convenient.

With just this one example in mind, why would we then want to go back to catching a 12-hour flight to do a 1-hour meeting or 15-minute talk at a conference?

With all the digital tools at our disposal to facilitate our lives, there is no other way I can see this playing out, this is it.

Quote of the day

β€œThe discontinuity will arise because many companies are going to fold. Many people will become unemployed. Therefore from the ashes of the companies that fold, new ones will arise.” - Tito Mboweni, South Africa’s Minister of Finance (Tweet this)

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