Remember your old life? The one where you worked in an office, met friends for drinks and freely hugged grandparents? It may be a distant memory, but there’s a happy future on the horizon - maybe a world that’s even better than before.
We spoke to a range of the UK’s leading experts, including a professional ‘futurist’, a psychologist plus a host of business leaders and authors to find out exactly we’ve got to look forward to in a post-vaccine world, whether at work, in our homes or on holiday (yay!). We promise to make you smile.
1. Immersive holidays: 'Travellers will be guided by a sense of purpose. Instead of wanting to lounge by the pool for a week, guests will want to feel ingrained in the local community. For instance, perhaps meeting local growers and producers to pick up their own fresh ingredients for a meal that evening at a neighbouring farm, where they’ll mingle with locals.’
By Carla Pia, managing partner at the hotel branding company 0120
2. Extended getaways: ‘The ‘staycation’ won’t just be a long weekend – we’ll see longer domestic getaways, with people relocating for up to three months to work from somewhere they feel inspired. After the monotony of working, sleeping and eating within the same four walls for the past year, people will be looking for new spaces to escape to. Hotels used as offices for the day will also become popular to give people a change of scene.’
By Carla Pia, as above
3. New cuisines: ‘When the economy recovers, we’ll see a diverse range of new trends around food, fashion and music, as entrepreneurs and creatives take advantage of empty spaces, the government’s post-COVID-19 stimulus capital package and people's desire for rich experiences. For example, national and regional cuisines that have been under-represented in the UK (e.g. Nigeria, Indonesia, regional Chinese) might start to break out in pop-ups and restaurants.’
By Tom Cheesewright, futurist, author of Future-Proof Your Business. See tomcheesewright.com
4. A party mindset: ‘I predict a growth of confidence which will spark a consumer rebound combined with partying as there was 100 years ago – the roaring 20s. The millennials’ drive not to return to the old ways will spark innovation, with more entrepreneurs finding new ways of doing things.’
By Thom Dennis, CEO of Serenity in Leadership
5. Sustainable solutions: ‘We’ll see more virtual presentations and catwalks to help reduce overproduction of collections. The development of ‘make and meant’ culture, where consumers look for clothing with a story behind it, will lead to more cross-collaborations between consumers and brands, with clients asking designers to create personalised products for them.
‘Blockchain’ (a supply tracking system) will be a major development in the fashion industry as brands will have to prove their supply chains are ethical.’
By Esther Knight, sustainable fashion expert and co-founder & CEO of Fanfare
6. Robot furniture: ‘Landlords looking to balance small homes with the need to support remote workers will use technology to create apartments that transform at the touch of a button. We’ll see bedrooms that convert into offices and kitchens that can be personalised to suit the renter’s needs. In shared houses you might have five people with different tastes using the same kitchen.
Smart surfaces will allow them to change the colour of a worktop with a few swipes of an app or even a voice command. Powered wheels and stands will allow them to move the room around and change unit heights to suit. The kitchen could transform from professional prep station for a big meal, to a social space for cocktails all in an instant.’
By Tom Cheesewright, futurist
7. Sustainable houses: ‘More of us will be looking for a home that maximises energy efficiency and is eco-friendly. Air-source heat pumps, rather than gas or oil, solar panels, high levels of insulation and homes with a car charging point will become much in demand.’
By Andrea Fawell, Sales and Marketing Director of Kebbell Homes
8. Online safety will improve: ‘The UK Government will help make the UK the safest place in the world to go online, for children in particular. New Online Harms legislation (and recently introduced age-appropriate design) will give big tech companies a duty of care requiring them to consider how their services like Facebook, Instagram and Xbox might harm us, e.g. cyberbullying, child sexual abuse and addiction.
They will have to take action to protect us. If they don’t, regulators will have powers to fine or prosecute them.’
By Robert Wigley, Chairman of UK Finance, author of Born Digital, out March, 2021
9. Social millionaires: ‘Digital will continue to thrive. I envisage a huge increase in people and brands earning a living from social media alone or who triple their income made from social media.
We’ll see budget for digital quadruple from bigger businesses to create more exciting online experiences, such as the use of VR (virtual reality), an increase of audio content and people tapping into more local communities to provide a sense of belonging.’
By Unsah Malik, social media and influence expert
10. Reduced burn-out: ‘After our home/work lives merged during lockdown, there’ll be a new emphasis on disconnecting properly, establishing work boundaries and prioritising sleep and exercise.
Over the past year many of us have reflected on life and realised what really matters to us.’
By Dr Lynda Shaw, psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist
11. Adrenalin highs: ‘Our appetite for risk will increase. Current trends for wild swimming and hiking will shift up a gear as people crave the adrenaline rush they’ve been missing in lockdown. Expect a resurgence of adrenaline sports and motor racing experiences.’
By Tom Cheesewright, futurist
12. Enhanced connection: ‘With masks covering half our faces, reading each other’s emotions has been a challenge recently. Unconsciously we’ve relied on tiny micro-expressions around the eyes.
Once we have permission to ‘unmask’ we’ll relish the complex beauty of naked faces and embrace the enhanced connection this allows us with others.’
By Kirsty Lucinda Allan, author and psychologist