Nearly all of us are currently subject to a national 'lock-down' during an unprecedented pandemic.
And all of us are responding in different ways to the challenges that this 'new world' we now find ourselves living and working in present.
After the initial panic, patterns seem to be starting to stabilise: we're getting used to having to que for an hour (or longer) to get into the supermarket, and then once we're inside for it to take 2-3 times as long to get around as we used to be able to do our shop in, in order to practice social distancing and limiting contact with fellow shoppers and store staff.
But for many, the revelation that they can now work from home using video conferencing and remote access, and which people seem to already be developing habits around, seems to suggest that many will struggle to want to go back to the drudgery of commuting once we're out of the other side of this (whenever that may be).
But there's something about working from home, and also the wider implications of how as enterprises and business we fumble our way forwards through this, that no-one really wants to seem to talk about:
1) what it your internet connection goes down? I've heard of several people and small businesses who have been essentially excluded from the world completely after routine line installs and upgrades fell foul of 'human error', leaving them deaf, dumb, and blind to the world...
2) and what it your tech dies? My laptop's hard drive failed at the start of this week - and it's unlikely that I'll be able to get it anywhere for repair for months, so in the face of having already had nearly all my earning work cancelled by clients already, and an uncertain wait to find out if I'll be able to access the self-employed income support scheme, I've had to pay out several hundreds of pounds unexpectedly to order to buy a new one, and hope that it can be delivered sometime in the next 2 weeks... (in the meantime, my girlfriend has very kindly offered me the use of hers, from which I'm typing this).
3) Gurus and experts all seem to be extolling the virtues of 'pivoting' our business models - but encouraging us to do so in ways that assume that it's only our current market place or customers that are being disrupted - this is nothing like any of us have lived through before, and nothing that was ever conceived of by the academics and speakers who developed these models and frameworks. So for us businesses and enterprises already facing an immediate uncertain future because of cash shortfalls, our longer term planning is also compromised by the models we're being presented with to reinvent ourselves through having been developed for different times...
4) And finally, what happens after the summer for education bodies?
Universities and Colleges quickly moved to continue to offer teaching and classes using on-line platforms, and replace exams with assignments. But within a few months, these will become the norm for many students, who must surely then begin to wonder why they need to raise the money to live on or near a campus to be able to engage with their further and higher education in the future, when they can access it equally from wherever they find themselves living now?
Like many, I can't see that we're ever going to fully return to living and working as we were at the start of 2020, but I wonder how many waves of shock, panic, and fear this pandemic will successively unleash on us before we can all feel its over - and what these will do in turn to our work, learning, and relationships as societies, communities, and economies.
Hopefully the time that the lockdown offers us to start to carefully think about these things will mean that we don't emerge from the pandemic only to fall into the next global panic...