The Coronavirus pandemic has swiftly changed our reality. In a short period, it has forced us to do things differently and it’s probably fair to say that things will never be the same. So what could life look like after COVID-19?
The Home As A Safe Space
In 1981, the term ‘cocooning’ was coined by futurist and trend forecaster, Faith Popcorn, as a way to describe the idea of staying inside one’s home, protected from potential threats. In home decor, we have seen a shift towards transforming the home into a safe haven of sorts for some time. It’s a kind of personal sanctuary where we go to relax and recuperate after a long day, which is why we’ve seen items like plush couches, faux fur throws, soft rugs, lush greenery, and romantic light fixtures popping up in every store.
With COVID-19 wreaking havoc, South Africans have been expected to stay home and ‘cocoon’ for six weeks and counting. This has made it even more necessary to have a comfortable space where we can live for days on end. For many South Africans this is impossible, but for the privileged among us, the national lockdown has been an opportunity to don our gardening gloves, clean up the garage, or declutter the linen cupboard.
More importantly, though, the virus has forced us to adapt to a new way of living.
A New Normal
COVID-19 has changed the way we buy groceries. When we do venture out, it’s with the goal of getting everything we need in as little time as possible. Not only are we hyper-aware of distancing ourselves from others, but we are also more cognisant of hygiene in general.
Buying food has become a process. We return home, triumphant with our mission, only to realise that we must spend the next 20 minutes sanitising each and every bottle of hand soap and tomato sauce before it is allowed to enter the safe cocoon we have created for ourselves.
It has affected the way we do business. Those who were slow to accept the benefits of working remotely have realised that businesses can be run this way. In fact, some of us are even more productive than in a formal office setting. Apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have allowed meetings and interviews to take place as normal, and it has brought friends and family together from all over the world.
It has changed our homes and their function. The home offices we’ve cobbled together overnight will become permanent and homes of the future will be sold on the strength of their Wi-Fi and the thickness of their walls. A piece of furniture will be judged on how easily it transforms from a desk into a compact cupboard.
But what will WE be like after COVID-19?
The After Years
The line between home and work for many of us will not be as clear, and we’ll have to find better ways of keeping the two separate. Colleagues will be more forgiving each time your toddler interrupts your Zoom meeting, but you’ll need to work harder to prove your value.
We’ve all started to realise just how little we can get by with.
One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is our need for genuine human connection. Even the most independent among us have needed company; to hear a voice other than our own. We all long for the day when we can see, touch, and embrace our friends and family again.
Perhaps this virus, as terrible as it is, has made us realise how fortunate we are.
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst