Change. It’s probably one of the exhausted words in the English dictionary. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary online even uses 29 points for the definitions of this word. In inspirational talks, change also often takes centre stage.

Often, change is celebrated, implying the improvement of things: a new house, a new car or a better personality. Other times, it could mean leasing a bulldozer and witnessing it wreaking havoc on a building that used to be your workplace.

At a time of a pandemic, the discourse on change has been prevalent. People have been shining a light on the flaw of bureaucracy. Time and time again, they have expressed their disapproval of capitalism, and now, its exploitation and bleak results have been emphasised. Because of this, the “new normal” has been an ongoing conversation as the world stays in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The movie industry

The necessity of social distancing has affected movies that have been set to release at the beginning of 2020. As a result, movie theatres have brought back the culture of drive-in theatres. Because it could be hard to afford social distancing in cinema seats, drive-in theatres bring in the convenience of being confined in one’s personal space while still enjoying the movie. In addition, concerns about disinfecting the entire area after every showing are eliminated.

Like many other industries, the production of movies and TV shows has come to a standstill. If anything, this has fostered creativity among artists. They’ve started experimenting with Instagram Live and filming content in their homes. For bigger production, social distancing meant the economy of staff — lesser extras and keeping only the essential people in the set.

officeThe workplace

Since the beginning of the lockdown, businesses have laid off employees to keep up with the financial demands. This means, by the time the world flattens the curve, some offices will have gone through the process of hiring and training new employees — together with catching up with productivity.

The biggest effect of COVID-19 in work culture is the work-from-home set-up. With the use of the internet, employees and company administrations can communicate and get things done. Having remote work as a solution opens up new doors for businesses, especially in the realm of lowering costs. However, the company still needs to ensure that the technologies required to make this set-up work are accessible and plausible for their employees.

Peering into a dark glass

Despite these changes in industries, it might still be too early to have a definite prediction of the new normal. In an essay by Nicholas Eberstadt on ‘The New Normal in Asia’ series, he says that “we can only peer through the glass darkly.” Whether drive-in theatres create a permanent comeback in the coming years or remote work becomes normalised, it is completely unsure.

Nevertheless, it is high time that people act vigilant of the changes going on in the world, may it be economically or politically. The shifts that loom on the horizon will shape the future as well as the younger generations.