Last week felt like a long week… much of it has to do with a lack of variety in the day I think, which has been an issue during lockdowns… the odd trip to the office here, a visit to a client there, it just adds interest and breaks up the week… hopefully we will be back running soon… still observations for this week.
More and more businesses seem to be adapting to the new digital world. This week, the local vet… telehealth for pets… who would have thought… they have trouble explaining their symptoms mind you. Even with AI, google translate for cat and dog is likely some way off…!
The length of the lockdown (or a consequence of home office perma-snacking) means new clothes are now needed… fitting seems to be hard to replicate digitally… yet another trip to the post office tomorrow to return my ‘aspirational sizings’…!
Workwise, constant video calls continue. A comment was made, and contrary to some views, that these are actually helping build stronger relationships… small frequent video calls really help apparently… is it time to stop trying to replicate the 3-5 hour workshop online… a new medium so maybe a new approach…
We are all now getting very used to being on video and video calls.
In conversation this week the topic came up and discussion turned to how we used to see people on video calls on TV before but it never really took off (remember The Big Bang Theory)… this was of course before the pandemic… now it seems second nature…. it was a hidden trend waiting for the trigger.
“The future has arrived — it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” – William Gibson
All of this got me thinking… what is the next trend, the next change, hidden in plain sight, one just we haven’t noticed yet….?
It also linked to a couple of interesting conversations around messaging and communication too.
Looking at my desktop there is a proliferation of messaging platforms I now have to monitor… Email, Skype, Teams, Slack, Messenger, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, etc. Each are vying for my attention… and most are trying to create a closed loop ecosystem… THEY want to be the single point for everything communication related… this is to own the customer relationship and no doubt their data too.
Gradually this is Omni-channel arriving…. increasingly however it is feeling fragmented across multiple platforms and apps.
As a consumer there are of course only so many platforms you can actually manage… and for business, it represents a wider problem… which platform and how many platforms do I focus on…?
Some businesses undoubtedly will try to manage all of them and there are already some consolidator hubs popping up… Others, however, seem to be bucking this trend and concentrating on just a few.
With the network effect… platform consolidation… a few will dominate… with WhatsApp and WeChat out in front.
The demise of email has long been discussed… but is this the real start of change… a trend to get ahead of… maybe, but certainly one to watch.
“Welcome to the real world” – Morpheus
Meanwhile back in the real world many people continue to struggle financially through this crisis.
This was also brought into sharp relief this week, via the Debt Advice sector, listening to some of the struggles people are having.
Assistance is undoutbedly at hand with support from businesses (eg payment deferrals), and the government (eg furlough) all having helped many.
Still, benefits claims have dramatically increased… with many people claiming where they never have before…. it is reaching levels last seen in the 1980s.
With so many people being touched by this crisis one way or another, awareness has been transformed. The stigma of discussing financial difficulties fading and many more people are finding it easier to empathize and discuss the issues involved… Maybe just maybe this could be a future trend too.
If we can all be more transparent and in someways honest about our financial situation, this could lead to better understanding and outcomes for all… hopefully so.
The good news this week, COVID cases seemed to start to moderate here. The new restrictions have been in place for a while now and it looks like we will hear more about next steps this week… so fingers crossed for year-end.
Observations for the week.
The video calls have continued to be as popular as ever. There was a bit of a debate this week on how it is changing the dynamics of things. Undoubtedly many are missing face to face meetings, however, some are also finding video calls, with more frequent contact, can actually help build stronger business relationships… this development will be interesting.
Also a gap is widening on the attitude to the future. Some are clearly really starting to embrace the situation… rather than living in expectation we will go back to the way it was before… new restrictions, they just carry on… with minimal impact… feels a positive move for now.
Workwise, more boxes also returned from the office to home. The ‘home office’ is starting more and more to have a permanent feel about it… I mean I know we have been like this for a while but definitely starting to feel like it is normalising now.