Time travel in lockdown
Time travel is becoming possible. Not literally but metaphorically. The lockdown process has accelerated technology changes that were already sitting there waiting to happen.
Working from home is the most obvious example. Before coronavirus (BC) we were in a situation that some people did work from home but it was nowhere near a majority that could. There will always be jobs that can’t be done from home but the creation of a knowledge economy has made homework possible. With a laptop, phone and website you can start a small business from your house. Call centres have had part time staff logging in from home. Some staff would work from home when they couldn’t get into the office.
The barriers to home working have rarely been technological. Some managers felt they needed to see their staff working. Some staff wanted a firewall between work life and home so work didn’t become 24x7. There was also the social aspect of work. The simple idea that you meet people and exchange ideas. The combination of these factors has slowed adoption of working from home.
Coronavirus has turned a lot of this upside down. Companies are looking at how many people they can have in an office with social distancing. Workers are now thinking about the safety of commuting and travel with the same constraints. Technology has moved quickly to enhance video meetings and respond to the needs of home work. We are literally seeing developments that could have taken years happening in 12 weeks.
Consumers have also accelerated change. With handling of cash being a way of passing around the virus many more businesses are preferring digital payment rather than cash. Many people have wallets of cash they haven’t used for weeks. Buses are encouraging more digital ticketing. The disappearance of the wallet with cash, which has been a trend for years, has gone on overdrive over the last few weeks.
While actual time travel is still science fiction our ability to accelerate change due to the pandemic seems to have genuinely moved some aspects of life years ahead in just a few weeks.