For most of us, a pandemic is something we've never experienced before, merely a plot to a film we watch once and then forget about, not thinking twice that it might be something that affects us. Clearly, we were wrong! This is a difficult, completely unprecedented time in our lives which has left nothing unaffected - be it the economy, the events industry or any other industry you can think of, coronavirus has had detrimental impacts on our world as we know it.
But, at Hire Space we like to see the silver lining. We believe that we can find positives in every situation, so that we can move forward and use this pandemic as a constructive lesson for the future. Here are 5 positive predictions about how we will react to change, grow, and come out stronger the other side together.
Mental health will be more widely acknowledged
This period has been tough on everybody. With levels of anxiety at an all-time high, it is easy to feel lonely, uncertain and scared during isolation. Not only this, levels of domestic abuse have increased, prompting a 25% rise in calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline. This has prompted the government to announce a 'cooling off' period where people are allowed to go to a friend's house after an argument at home.
With serious issues like these on the rise and now much more talked about in the media, this is where charities like Mind and Samaritans, as well as organisations like Sanctus and Eventwell, come into their own. These are just some examples of amazing support networks who provide critical help to those who need it during this time.
There is not one person who hasn't been mentally affected by coronavirus, so we believe that mental health will be taken much more seriously in the workplace and generally in society once this pandemic is over, and rightly so.
If you feel you need someone to talk to, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 or get in touch with Sanctus here. If you are suffering from domestic abuse, you can call the UK National Domestic Abuse helpline for free on 0808 2000 247.
We will have a better work-life balance
Closely linked to mental health, we think we will all have a much better work-life balance moving forward. Employers have seen that we can be productive whilst working remotely, so this has potentially changed the landscape of the traditional 9-5 working day. There may well be much more flexibility introduced within organisations to accommodate employees who need it, such as working parents.
This flexibility will result in all of us being able to spend more time with our families/partners/friends, again improving mental health and giving us all a better balance between our work life and our social life.
We suggest there may also be a big change in attitudes towards sick days. Rather than companies encouraging people to 'drag themselves in', they might encourage working from home or employees taking a day off if they need it. This is better for our overall health and will create better awareness of hygiene and the spreading of germs!
We will take sustainability more seriously
You only have to take a look at the pollution levels over China, the plane-less sky or the water clarity in Venice to see that whilst this pandemic has had catastrophic consequences, it has also managed to allow our beautiful planet to breathe for a little while.
We can all draw a valuable lesson from this pandemic, and that is to take sustainability more seriously. This may force us to consider taking more drastic measures to be more sustainable, not just in the events industry but in the way we live our lives too. Serving bowl food in recycled wooden trays at a conference will no longer make the cut as being sustainable - we will all become much more conscious about how much we travel, how much waste we produce, how much energy we use and every other aspect of our daily lives and, subsequently, our events.
We will be more connected
In March alone, Zoom has seen its users rocket from 10 million to a whopping 200 million (Reuters), demonstrating just how much we are now relying on technology to stay connected with our friends and families. In fact, we have noticed that we are now more connected than before, scheduling weekly Friday night calls with friends and family who we may not usually see in person for months at a time.
Therefore, this pandemic has taught us a valuable lesson to keep connected with our loved ones, and has given us a new appreciation for the simple act of meeting a friend for coffee, or enjoying dinner with your family. We believe we will have a renewed sense of appreciation for life's simple pleasures, and will make time for our friends and family much more.
Similarly, we will have more awareness and respect for our neighbours. During this period of isolation, some people have had to rely on the kindness of neighbours they previously may never have even spoken to. We will also have more respect and awareness for key workers; supermarket workers, teachers, carers, and of course, NHS workers. We believe we will become much more rounded and considerate members of society.
Technology will become more innovative
Technology has always been a huge part of society, however with most of us working remotely it has become an integral part of not just our work lives, but our social lives too. As the future of the events industry is so unknown currently, we believe technology will continue to develop and facilitate navigation through this changing landscape.
In a session at our recent virtual event on how the events industry is responding to COVID-19 (which you can read here), Gerd De Bruycker, EMEA Marketing Director at CISCO, stated that technology 'will become much more innovative and integrated within events'.
We agree with Gerd in that the landscape of live events will change drastically and there will be a 'hybrid of live and virtual events as a standard'. This will inspire ambition and productivity in venues, agencies and organisations worldwide to improve their offering and create more rounded experiences through technology, such as with interactive virtual events.
Aside from events, technology will become an even bigger part of our everyday lives, as we have seen just how much we can do when we have seamless technology to enhance our ability to do our jobs and to get us through a period of complete isolation from the world.
We hope you enjoyed reading our positive post-pandemic predictions (try saying that three times!) and are feeling a little more optimistic about the future. We would love to hear your thoughts on this too, so please get in touch and be sure to follow us on social media!
We've also created a platform to keep you up-to-date with all the latest Coronavirus news, as well as the latest useful industry responses to the ongoing pandemic.
Izzie brings a deep understanding of the events world to Hire Space, and keeps busy by writing lots of Hire Space and EventLAB content and managing the Hire Space social media presence.