We aren’t close to being clear what the long-term implications of our experience of Covid-19 might be but we can be sure that everything is unlikely to return to how it was before. Whether it’s through the ongoing management of this virus or readiness for similar challenges in the future, it is becoming generally accepted that we must change how we do things in order to be more resilient to experiences like this, as well as the global challenges over climate change.
Some adaptations that have been forced on us were most probably overdue. It is clear that technology solutions already existed to offer relatively effective and efficient virtual meetings with no need for travel to jointly occupy meeting rooms. What seemed likely to be a second-rate temporary solution has turned out, for many of us, to be an excellent solution to some of our day to day working methods, saving both time and scarce resources. The ability of people to work from home as a temporary necessity may prove to be another enforced ‘trial’ that becomes an option for more flexible and responsive working which most probably, from the early evidence, can provide efficiency and productivity benefits for businesses and employees alike. Obviously there needs to be balance here as loneliness and isolation are risks and mental well-being must be considered carefully in changes to our working lives, but our eyes have been opened.
We deal with the built environment and our experiences over recent weeks and months are suggesting that our places need to adapt. That adaptation will, inevitably, lead to investment and development which, by its nature, will require permissions from local planning authorities. How can we retrofit our neighbourhoods, urban public space and green space to allow for low-density exercise and play which allows us to be confident and is good for mental well-being? We need to create safe and hygienic transport solutions and the huge increase in people walking and cycling needs to be captured and properly catered for as we move forward. We need to repurpose and make effective use of buildings that allow for healthy and safe use and deliver economic benefits at a time when previous uses may no longer be appropriate or desirable. How can we take advantage of the many changes in our current behaviour and our enhanced appreciation of nature to address global warming and reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
Globe is here to help. If there are matters relating to investment and change that you need to implement, and which you believe require formal consents, we can provide assistance and support through the statutory processes. Just give us a shout.
It’s not often we’d finish a short blog with a Darwinism but, having listened to an excellent presentation by the Chief Executive of Lincoln City Football Club this week, he used a quote by Charles Darwin that seemed apt for the current challenges our businesses face – “It’s not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It’s the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
In fact, having looked afterwards, there are several quotes from this great man that apply, not least is this, which I think is particularly relevant to the many of us who will play a part in the recovery and evolution of our buildings, spaces and places over the coming months and years: “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment”.
Our environment is altering, so let’s start to think about how we face the challenges now to not simply resume activities, but to take active steps to adapt and respond to the changes that have been thrust upon us.