I decided to leap on my bike and ride through the city. The silence was deafening.
The metropolis of 5 million people was no longer a breathing mass of humanity and energy.
Empty and frozen.
It felt like I had stepped into a movie.
The leaves blew across deserted streets.
Teeming busy cafes and bars were shut and staring back with empty windows.
Roads with red lights begged to be disobeyed.
The harbor filled with ferries was emptied.
Just lapping waves.
My friendly and busy city where I played, socialized, and worked was a ghost town.
No cars to be seen.
I half expected a tank to clatter around the corner. Troops masked and behind a barricade. Air raid sirens to switch on.
Do you like stability?
I grew up in a world where nothing changed for decades. There were no personal computers, no smartphones and no apps. But we did have cars!
In the mid-1980s the PC revolution started an acceleration of change that is still accelerating. Then we had the Internet that connected them and created a global super consciousness. People connected through their devices.
This was supercharged by the easy-to-use technology that was the intersection of technology and humans. Social media. Soon after we were able to connect, publish and share no matter where we were. The iPhone democratized the smartphone and brought it to the masses. More fuel was added as an ecosystem of apps made tech easy.
It was the perfect storm.
It now feels like that we are living at warp speed. Nothing is the same. The norms have been broken and challenged.
Now we need to embrace resilience and dig deep into our toolbox of courage. And adapt.
The event that changed the world in 2020 has accelerated the future. It is here and there is nowhere to hide.
11 trends that are changing our world
So what are the life-changing trends that have been accelerated by the event that threatened the human species and life as we knew it?
1. Starting a side hustle
Businesses closing around us and the 24/7 news cycle of doom and gloom mean that having options that provide extra income beyond the 9 to 5 pay packet have exploded.
The side hustle is what everyone is doing especially the 20-30-year-olds. They are comfortable with tech, apps, and smartphones.
And it has never been easier to start a business in this digital world.
2. Doubling down on what’s important
A pandemic has a way of making us think much more about what is important. And being a bit paranoid about a sniffle and a cough and a sore throat makes you sleep a little less at night.
That creeps into doubts about keeping a job.
It means watching your health a bit more closely, maintaining social connections that are important.
There has been a real trend to nurture relationships near and far. Video calls and FaceTime usage have exploded.
And Zoom is now a noun and not just a word.
3. Remote business
For years, many people have been wanting to work from home maybe a day or two a week. Now we have all been sent home and many don’t know when they are going back to the office.
That raises a lot of questions.
The HR manager now has their hands full.
But there are companies that have started with a remote work ecosystem and thrived.
What are the rules and best practice for this new way of working?
- Build social connections at a distance
- Create recorded processes for your business
- Focus on communication
- Document everything
- Create a structure
- Develop and nurture transparency, trust, and accountability
- Focus on results and output
- Customize your hiring process
- Be deliberate about your culture
Another important part of this evolution is to use the tools and technology that allow you to do this efficiently and at scale.
4. Low cost and easy to use tools and platforms
I was reading a blog on Hustle the other day about the hot new app C.lubhouse and this insight about how quickly it was built using modern tech and web building tools .
“According to investor Justin Caldbeck, Clubhouse was built in 1 week on Agora”. In recent months, Clubhouse has grown to 6m+ users, catalyzed by a Jan. 24 funding round (which valued the startup at $1B) and an appearance by Elon Musk during the GameStop/Robinhood controversy.” – Hustle
This is not to be underestimated.
5. Regional living
Over 40% of workers can work from the home office now. This means the cities are seeing people rushing for renting and buying homes in regional areas 2-3 hours from the city.
All around the world people are escaping the cities and we are seeing rents and property prices rising.
But will this trend be short lived?
6. Home making
Being trapped at home inside has a way of taking a closer look at the peeling paint and even the curtains and the items that surround and nurture our space called home. As we sit at our new home office chair and laptop we start to notice things that are missing.
So we doubled down on homemaking. New cushions, new reverse cycle heating, and cooling.
A new rug. The oven that needed replacing. The mattress that now doesn’t feel quite right.
The black swan event that is the Pandemic, has made us invest more in our home space. To make it our safe and nurturing place.
7. Local travel
I’ve seen more of my local state in one year than I have for a decade! I even did a 16 day road trip a few weeks ago.
As international airports have for the moment become deserted and where death lurks and the safety of your own car become a haven.
The local road trip is now a thing. Sales of RVs and caravans have soared. And regional AirBnB’s are booked out.
8. Online shopping
As we became paranoid about crowded shopping centers and the retail high street we decided to click and buy. Eating in is now the preferred option.
Dark kitchens designed for making food home delivery are the big food option trend.
Amazon added 150,000 staff to keep up with the online shopping demand.
9. Exercising (inside and out)
I live on the edge of the harbor with the round-the-bay walk in front of me. The work-from-home crowd and those escaping cabin fever have turned what was a quiet walkway into a pedestrian freeway.
The germaphobes and the continuous cycle of lockdowns have resorted to buying exercise equipment for home from kettlebells to stationary bicycles. And the online cycling platform Peloton has seen its customer base explode.
10. Online learning and education
This trend has been happening for a long time but it has been accelerated with schools and universities shutting down and sending students home. The only way to learn is login and learn from your screen.
This has revealed shortcomings in many online learning platforms, course structures and some teachers struggle with the technology.
11. Global market trend instead of just local
The ability to reach the world from your desk and computer has been with us for well over a decade. The rise of social media platforms gave us the ability to take our marketing global.
We can all publish online, sell our knowledge and influence and launch ecommerce stores. The trend towards easy to use and low cost tools and platforms has democratised online businesses that in the past only the big players could afford and use.
Wrapping it up
It has been said before….
“Don’t waste a good crisis”.
The last year has been a time for us to reflect, learn and embrace change.
The question is “Are you seizing the opportunity?”