To say 2020 so far has been a bit of a rollercoaster would be an understatement. If we were told back at the beginning of the year what the world was going to face, we would have said it was too far fetched to comprehend, but here we are in September after a totally surreal six months, slowly getting back to a bit of normality, and embracing this new world that Covid 19 has left us with.
Children are just starting to go back to school after missing two whole terms, the country is facing the worst recession in history, many people have lost their jobs, and everything we took for granted just a few months ago has gone and is unlikely to return for a long time….if ever. Welcome to the so called ‘New Normal’, whatever that is.

So as we start getting back to a little bit of normality, as kids embark on a new school year, and businesses slowly start back up again as we begin to see the easing of restrictions there is no doubt that the Corona Virus has changed all of our lives beyond recognition.
The biggest challenge our country has faced for a generation, every single one of us have felt the effects of it, especially for the many thousands of families that have been been ripped apart because of the many victims this virus has sadly claimed.

Life has changed. Working from home has become the normal, unless like many thousands of us you have been furloughed – a word that a few months ago, none of us had even heard of. We have been isolated from our friends and families, the thought of summer holiday abroad or a city break is a no go unless you are prepared to self-isolate for 2 weeks afterwards, and our hands are now are so clean from all the sanitiser that surely a common cold will become a thing of the past.

We know we are in this for the long haul – even now as restrictions are relaxed it doesn’t mean that we will be back to normality, especially with the ever looming threat of a second wave of it. This is going to take us months, if not years to recover from, mentally and financially, but we will. Like our grandparents and great grandparents before us that lived through the world wars, us Brits are made strong stuff, and a virus won’t keep us down.

What will the lasting effects of this be though to the way we live our lives. Will it change what we thought of just a short ago while was normal? And will it make us appreciate things that we have taken for granted for so long.

First of all we have got to talk about Zoom. Who had heard of it six months ago? No one? Thought so. Whatever your age, if you haven’t been able to use it, you have been even more isolated. Zoom and Facetime have become our best friends. It has been the go to for keeping in touch with friends and family, and meetings with colleagues via video call is the norm. Quiz Nights, Bingo, Karaoke – we have tried them all over the last few months, and who hasn’t had the task of trying to explain to an elderly relative how to switch the ‘Video on’ on a Zoom call….is there anything more frustrating?!
Surely though this is a legacy of Covid we want to keep. The amount of old friends we have reconnected with via zoom is amazing. Maybe the reconnection of those old and comfortable acquaintances during these unfamiliar times has been the reassurance we need. A quiet Saturday night in has taking on a different level – add a bottle of vodka to it and a zoom call with a mate and you have got the 2020 version of going ‘Out Out’ and long may it continue – it has really been an occasion.

The ways businesses operate as well will surely be changed by video conferencing. Maybe we were behind the times but having used Zoom to carry out our recruitment during this period has made us realise we need to embrace this. We are very much a people business – handshakes and high fives are a huge part of what we do and that is irreplaceable, but virtual meetings have got to be part of our future to streamline and modernise what we are doing

This pandemic has also made us appreciate the little things in all of our lives and not to take things for granted. Somethings like this has made us realise how lucky we are on so many levels.
Taking friends and family for granted has got to be the biggest wake up callout of this. Being told you can’t meet up with people for months of end has taken its toll on us all – both emotionally and mentally. We are a race that depends on human contact, and the closeness we have with other people – whether it be your family or your close friends – is what we have craved during this. Not being able to see your parents, grandparents not being able to see their grandchildren, and of course not being able to celebrate weddings or attend funerals has been awful but let us hope the legacy of this is that it has made us appreciate what is important to us. Let us take time when this is all over to connect with others, give them a big hug and make sure they know how special they are.

Exercise and freedom is something else that has become very precious. During the early days of lockdown when only an hour a day of exercise was allowed was when we really appreciated the freedom we had always taken for granted. The country went mad for exercising, every other Facebook notification was for some challenge for running 5k and Joe Wicks became a national treasure by encouraging our children to exercise with him virtually every morning. Being able to go outside and enjoy some fresh air was the highlight of many peoples’ days, a chance to escape the confines of their own four walls. As a nation of couch potatoes, this is something that is so important that we keep up, both for our physical and mental health.

The NHS has been the other thing we have really come to appreciate during this time. Again, something that has always been there for us, but something that we have always taken for granted, it has always been easy to criticise the NHS but it is something that everyone has taken to their hearts during this pandemic, clapping for our carers every Thursday evening, rainbow posters hung in everybodies windows, and of course some amazing fundraising efforts, including new national treasures like Captain Tom raising millions of pounds for the NHS Charities in what seemed just a matter of hours. If one legacy can come out of all this is that our carers are appreciated and all front line workers, including teachers, supermarket workers and delivery drivers are paid what they are worth as they have truly been the heroes of this pandemic

2020 has been a challenge definitely, but as we head into the last quarter of it, let us try and take a positive out of all of this. Life was becoming too fast, too materialistic and too impersonal, so if we take one lesson from it, let us appreciate what we have around us. Can 2020’s legacy be for us not to take things for granted ….you don’t realise what you have got until its gone.