The New Normal. Changes we see now will be permanent. Business travel will always be down. Work from home will be permanent. It’s the New Normal.
Major business decisions are being made based on the New Normal. For some reason, organizations are not taking human nature into account when making decisions, and they do so at their peril.
Human beings naturally are drawn to one another. Much of the pain during the pandemic lock downs has be the fact that we have been unable to meet face to face, to touch, to love, to disagree, to argue, to smile, to frown, to interact and then get on with it.
Decision makers seem to think that we will never get back to normal. I don’t understand that at all. There is not a hint that we won’t go back. Not one. In fact it is to the contrary.
Las Vegas is a prime example. The state recently opened casinos and restaurants from 35% occupancy to 50%, and the city was jammed even the day before the announcement became effective. People were wanting to get back to normal. Los Angeles restaurants, for so long restricted to take out, then outdoor dining, and now indoor dining, are overwhelmed with reservations. People want to get back to normal.
Although the stimulus bill that passed congress and signed by the president was welcomed by some, many economists are saying it was unnecessary. The economy is already starting to rebound, and as the vaccines and openings take effect over the next few months, it is expected to boom.
People will do whatever it takes to get back to normal, to get back to school, to get back to ball games, to get back to parties, to get back to well, normal. Humans are tired of the restrictions, the lock downs, the karens. They will get back to normal, and it will look like is was in 2019.
Think about it. How many people have told you that they are sick of ‘zoom’ calls? How many people have told you that they are tired of working from home? How many people have told you or rolled their eyes when the topic of masks comes up? How many people have told you they want to see their grandparents, or their grand children, or their aged parents?
Technology ‘experts’ are the ones swinging for the ‘new’ normal. And lets face it, their predictions are often self serving. For instance, Shira Ovide, writing in the New York Times, notes:
But like all of us, technologists have blind spots and biases. They can misjudge or opine on topics that they don’t really understand. And humans are not always good at understanding humans.
The problem, I fear, is that we too often associate running an innovative company with an ability to predict the future. And that can have real consequences if we build policy and our lives around what they say.
One of the most glaring examples was Uber’s proclamations that it would help alleviate traffic and pollution in major metropolitan areas and reduce the number of cars in the United States. In 2015, Uber’s co-founder Travis Kalanick described the future of his company: “Fewer cars, less congestion, more parking, less pollution and creating thousands of jobs.”
Research now shows that Uber and other on-demand ride services largely did the opposite. They made traffic in many cities worse, contributed to an increase in miles driven in the United States and pulled people from shared transit to solo cars.
I suggest that a bit of common sense is due here. What do YOU think and to what do YOU want to return. I think that you know the answer.