Navigating The “New Normal” - A Virtual Reality
Since the emergence of Covid-19, restrictions have impacted every aspect of our lives, and we've embraced new skills as we continue to adapt. In response to the restriction on physical life, many of us have turned to digital tools and virtual platforms to stay in touch and keep some resemblance of normality.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Out of adversity comes opportunity” and with physical doors closing, virtual doors have opened — changing the world as we know it.
Virtuality - seeing is believing
For the many of us missing out on travel, pampering and entertainment, resilient businesses, have been quick to respond and adapt to the new digital reality, we are now all so dependent upon. Using streaming services and virtual reality, they are exhibiting live concerts, organising virtual events, and launching online-only spaces.
Take the British Museum, for instance. This institution which welcomes over 6.7 million visitors a year, has collaborated with the Google Cultural Institute to create a world-class experience online, bringing their shows to a whole new audience.
But how are we going to adapt to the post-COVID era for our leisure and retail needs?
Virtual travel - curing wanderlust
With about 90 per cent of the world under a travel restriction and finding themselves with extra time on their hands, virtual travel has become a thing. Many would-be adventurers are going digital to cure their wanderlust.
So, while you might not be able to climb Mt. Everest, dive with sharks, or explore the Great Wall of China, the advances of virtual technology have made it possible for you to experience all these things, even if you can’t leave your front door!
Also, a well-documented ecological benefit that has surfaced during global lockdown is the potential for technology to reduce tourism's carbon footprint. So, while not being able to travel has been a loss for many, it’s been an opportunity for our planet to recover and for our world to become greener.
The future of retail - a brave new world
The beauty world, like many other industries, has been hugely affected by the coronavirus. Although it is fair to say that some have been doing better than others, many retailers are embracing the fourth industrial revolution. They are looking at how to use virtual platforms to replicate in-store experiences for customers.
In the race to innovate to help bring consumers closer to the services that they miss, brands are hatching a plan to bring expertise into the homes of their consumers. From virtual consultations with digital therapists to using our smartphones to see what a piece of furniture will look like in our homes, brands are offering plenty of ways to maintain our retail therapy from home.
It’s fair to say that technology has made the virtual world a greater reality than ever before. But how can it be used to help us feel connected when we can’t be together?
Staying connected, but not as you know it
Having good friendships, relationships, and social connections play an essential part in looking after our wellbeing. With isolation and social restriction measures in place, we can unsurprisingly start to feel the loss of human contact. The current situation is making us seek out new ways of staying connected, to keep our spirits up and to help one another through these unprecedented times.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, there are plenty of ways you can stay connected to your friends, family and local community during the lockdown, even if you can’t see them in person.
Here are a few examples of how communities have adapted and embraced technology for us to create experiences of togetherness in the virtual “reality” that we find ourselves in: Why not give it a go!
- Explore online art classes, virtual museum tours or living room music festivals
- Join a virtual gym class
- Have virtual meetups with friends and family
- Join or create a virtual book club
And if technology is not for you? Then pick up a pen and write somebody a letter or postcard or give them a call. Even the smallest of connections are good for us.
The reality of huidhonger - the need for human touch
We all have a biological and emotional need for physical contact. During this time of COVID, the Dutch have created a word to describe the longing for human connection in isolation — “huidhonger”, or “skin hunger” translated.
Skin hunger, also known as touch deprivation — occurs when a person experiences little to no contact or interaction. Whether it is losing out on workplace handshakes, friendly hugs, or pats on the back, missing out on regular human contact can have some serious and long-lasting effects. And, although the virtual world is filling many of the gaps in our lives, something it can’t replace is the need for physical human contact, no matter how small.
As we get used to the new normal, our digital lives may never be the same again. From the way we stay connected, to our ways of working, and even the way we shop. What things will look like post-pandemic is mostly a mystery, but one thing is for sure, some of these habits are likely here to stay.
So, when the world opens up again and it’s safe to go out, come and join us at one of our community events. We’d love to connect with you. Until then, sign up to our newsletter to learn about our future events and stay in touch by joining our online community.
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