There is a constant plea for things (whatever that constitutes) to return to a semblance of normal. This is an overwhelming state of delusion that is suffered by a large portion of the populace. Even under less strenuous circumstances, there is no such thing as normal. Our lives are constantly in flux, a fluidity that applies to every aspect of our reality. Attempting to achieve something that does not exist is an act of endless futility.
Even the statement “this is the new normal” is terribly misleading. It might be the state of expectations at present, but is also subject to variations in experience based on variables that are presenting themselves in earnest every day. From new vaccines for COVID-19, to a shift in how companies are continuing to deal with their now-remote workforces, normal is only a fleeting moment that we can barely adhere to. Rather, it’s our current reality that is constantly changing, creating a sense of normalcy that will never be defined by one singular state of being.
It doesn’t take but a glance at social media to see how our current reality is playing out. The main area of focus is how we are working now. We live within the realms of connected visual communication tools, that much is for certain. Will that change with widespread vaccination adoption (even though that might never happen) or will companies continue to press further into workforces that aren’t forced to cohabitate a stale office environment?
Many companies (including Amazon, Facebook and Dropbox) have switched to long-term work-at-home plans, accepting that returning to the procedures of the past that defined the normal of that moment is no way to look toward the future. In the course of 2020, companies embracing long-term work-at-home plans went from 41% in April, to 82% in July to a whopping 90% in December.
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Live-streaming tech is booming but we still need a place to stream from, and our basements and bedroom corners aren’t cutting it. Startups are popping up almost every other day, offering some sort of work-at-home solution that isn’t the dank garage. Nooka rents out modern work spaces for the backyard (though, you could just buy a shed), while other companies are offering to plant units in your backyard that can be rented out. Or you could just build yourself a nice pillow fort.
Part of striving for what we consider normal (a glimpse of a previous, non-pandemic life) is our desperation for social interaction at events. While events like concerts, conventions and general meetups shall return someday, there are virtual options continuously refining themselves. PR companies are hiring event managers for Clubhouse, since such industry social events are likely not to return for a while. This is normal, for the moment.
Companies in the digital communication space are working on ways to connect people beyond simple meetings or conference calls. For example, SignalWire has created Events, a customizable piece of virtual technology that allows artists to hold concerts or events remotely. Already heavily used in the video connectivity space, it’s a natural transition to take advantage of a growing market of virtual events. The gist is that as much as we tend to feel stuck in our homes, viewing our world through a virtual window, this is something that companies are investing money in.
Normal is whatever falls within the acceptable thresholds of your expectations with a nod to any limitations that may prevent you from being fully immersed in your current reality. Normal is today, yesterday and tomorrow. At least this current façade of normal exists without Quibi.