I remember the start of lockdown, people working from home and putting in the same hours in front of a computer in the back bedroom found that by missing out on the daily commute they could achieve a better work/life balance than they could previously. Meetings over Zoom and Teams meant that contact with coworkers was maintained.
During lockdown the wind kept blowing, the rain kept falling and the sun kept shining, the effect can be shown in the renewable proportion of power used, a larger proportion of renewable energy was used during lockdown because fossil fuel production was scaled down.
Percentage of power by renewables:
37.1% – 2019, before lockdown
43.0% – Final quarter of 2020, during lockdown
37.3% – Quarter up to September 2021, after lockdown
The figures are almost back to pre-pandemic levels.
But the rush for normality I find strange. There were people who worked from home who commented on their better work-life balance that was a result of the daily commute being removed, but now the pressure is on for a return to offices in order to help out the food sellers which have been built around the breakfast and lunch needs of office workers.
Then there is instability. Not knowing what is going on is causing a need for things that are not changing, and the new normal that would follow the pandemic is not here yet, the virus has not been beaten, and won’t be as long as poor countries have poor rates of vaccination. I cannot see there being a new normal before 2025 at the earliest.
There are also those who have lost out financially, living under furlough was not easy and others lost their jobs. The rich may not have been affected as badly, if you are living on less than you earn only the excess is hit, lack of international travel has also been a saving.
Until Covid is under control in this country there can be no certainty, the nature of viruses is that they mutate. Until Covid is under controlin the world we risk being hit by every major variant.