What is the new normal? – Birds on the Blog

What is the new normal?


Happy days! Most of us work for ourselves so our ‘new normal’ gets to be decided by us!

We’ve heard a lot of complaining and frustrated wishes to get back to normal. Let’s face it a global pandemic is NOT a normal anyone wants. BUT how much thought have we given to which bits of the new normal we actually want back.

Does anyone actually miss the commuting?

I know people who ‘don’t mind it’ but I have yet to meet the person who says ‘I can’t wait to get back to overcrowded, unreliable, filthy trains’? The last 15 months have meant that many of us have had to find ways to work from home, to communicate effectively with our clients. We have all of that in place. Meeting clients has gone from getting ready, getting to a train station, hoping that the train is on time, rushing at the other end and hoping their train was on time to switching on our computers, a touch of makeup and one of our Zoom shirts. One took hours before and after the meeting and one takes a matter of minutes. As the summer kicks in and London does that muggy, hot and no airconditioners thing its now known for – we can all sit in the coolest part of our home or garden to take our call. We’re not going to get home and dive straight in the shower because we feel like we need to.

Does anyone miss the rushing?

I remember commenting to a friend in Australia that even when I’m not in a hurry I used to rush everywhere. Everyone ‘rushes’ in London. Head down, moving forward, fighting crowds. It had a reputation in Australia for being unfriendly but I realised quickly, moving here 20 years ago this month, that people aren’t unfriendly they are busy, rushed and very, very often tired.

Does anyone miss having to commute their kids to school and then themselves to work? It must be one of the few cities in the world where even kids have to commute to school. Do you miss worrying that if you don’t get the right train or the train is late that you will be late to pick up your kids? If you’re at home you are much more in control of when you arrive, unless you still need to use the train to get there to pick them up.

Many people have missed their colleagues, the water cooler banter, the getting to know people, the sense of camaraderie but what if your new normal can include that as well?

We have a unique opportunity to decide on our new normal right now.

Especially those of us who work for ourselves. What do you need for your work situation to be optimal? How much human contact, face-to-face, works for you? Some of us get our energy from being around other people. Your balance between people time and work alone time might lean in favour of the former. In my case I get my energy from being on my own so my ideal will lean towards the latter.

Some parts of our work are non-negotiable but why not identify which parts are and decide what is best for your productivity and motivation. If three days working from home on your own is best but you’d like two days where you see clients and work with other people then how can you make that happen?

Don’t let’s miss this chance to design a working pattern that suits our lives. There have been many, many downsides to this terrible virus and many of us have lost people we cared about. It has changed our lives and provided us with a chance to decide whether we want the old normal back or whether we want a new hybrid set up that works for us and our families. There is no longer an excuse to say home or remote working doesn’t work – it does, we know it does, because the world has been doing it for 15 months now.

What is your ideal new normal and how can you make it happen?

Nicole Johnston https://writingtribe.com


About the Author Nicole Johnston

I have a misspent youth in politics and government and had the chance to work with some amazing people including Gordon Brown and Kim Beazley. My PhD was brought to an abrupt halt because I re-discovered my passion for writing fiction and my brain simply refused to engage any longer with administrative law. That was in 2005 and many and several manuscripts ago. Two of them ‘The Cabinet Maker’ and ‘Winter City’ can be found on here. My first delve into crime fiction will be out later this year. Unable to keep my love of writing to myself I have two free online writing tribes on Facebook where I share the information, knowledge and skills I’ve been lucky enough to pick up over the years. You’re very welcome to join me there for some encouragement to get your own books finished.

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