What's Next?

all new Phil
Posts: 1721
Joined: Sun 13 Feb, 2005 00.04
Location: Next door to Hell

Honestly I couldn’t think of anything worse than working from home. It’s hard enough in my job to switch off as it is, I can’t even imagine how much I’d hate work to intrude into my house as well.
Thought this was a nice forum, clearly not.
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dosxuk
Posts: 627
Joined: Thu 07 Feb, 2008 21.37
Location: Sheffield

I can see working from home being curtailed when companies properly realise they are responsible for people's home working environments - especially around display screen equipment, chairs and tables - all stuff that has been quietly ignored while the pandemic has been going on, but will come back to the fore once there's no reason not to work in the office. I expect to see the no-win-no-fee brigade going after this in a few years "WERE YOU WORKING FROM HOME BETWEEN 2020 AND 2022? DO YOU NOW NEED GLASSES? HAVE YOU PULLED YOUR BACK? YOUR EMPLOYER MAY BE LIABLE. CALL US NOW 0800-ambulance-chasers".

Then there's the rental properties which aren't allowed to be used for business purposes and people realising that broadband use for work is a business expense and can be claimed back (probably electricity / water / gas too). Suddenly all those costs of maintaining an office become a lot less of a concern.
Martin Phillp
Posts: 1117
Joined: Wed 11 May, 2011 01.28

Even with hybrid working, you're still going to see a reduction in revenue from office workers compared to pre-pandemic.

This pandemic has changed working practices forever. The fact we're even talking about hybrid working would have been unthinkable in January 2020. There are people who have changed careers because of the pandemic.

It has also sped up the closure of retail businesses and restaurants who no longer see themselves being viable even when things return to supposed normality.

The high street is changing and has been since the internet changed the way we shop. There will always be businesses than can make bricks and mortar work. Primark for example who don't sell their stock online is still as busy as ever even with Covid restrictions, but then you have heritage brands like M&S where clothing sales have tanked, but they do ok with food.
TVF's London Lite.
Humphrey Hacker
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue 06 Apr, 2021 21.47

I do a lot of volunteering and it has helped my state of mind no end. I've not been able to work from home and to be fair I don't want to. Fingers crossed I'll be going back soon. Being at home for such a long period is draining.
allwillbewell
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue 06 Apr, 2021 09.02

A lot of the small (local Tesco type places) supermarkets in the city are stating to close down, two near my company have already gone!
all new Phil
Posts: 1721
Joined: Sun 13 Feb, 2005 00.04
Location: Next door to Hell

Going back to the initial question as to what happens next, I think COVID is coming under control and the UK should be broadly back to normal by Summer. Once we get to that place, we’ll see a lot of changes in personnel in government - regardless of your opinion of Matt Hancock and his performance, he needs to be moved on for his own sanity.

We hear a lot about inquiries but I don’t think they will amount to much.

I don’t see there being any sort of economic crash. The industry I work in, which had to close and has recently reopened, has massively outperformed against expectations with numbers - despite 50% capacity restrictions - already being at 75% of the equivalent period of 2019. Local pubs and restaurants are busy every evening.

The real worry is the rest of the world, particularly Africa where vaccination is really low (around 2% I think I saw). We’ve done some bad shit in Africa in the past and I think it’s important that we do more than our bit in providing vaccines there. That’ll be the big focus for later in the year.
Thought this was a nice forum, clearly not.
Jonwo
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat 26 Apr, 2008 02.05

Third World Countries always struggle with diseases, it is the reason why HIV is still high in Africa and also why Ebola was a huge problem for them and not for other countries.

I would imagine Hancock will probably be reshuffled to a different position in the not too distance future although who replaces him remains to be seen.
cwathen
Posts: 1179
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

all new Phil wrote: Thu 10 Jun, 2021 11.14 Going back to the initial question as to what happens next, I think COVID is coming under control and the UK should be broadly back to normal by Summer.
On the first point I would agree. We have mass vaccination on stream which at present seems to be working. On the second point, no. The fact that we are even talking about delaying June 21st shows how much we haven't moved on; the average mindset clearly still continues to be that suppressing the pandemic is of limitless importance and even after 15 months it still must outrank everything else. Despite data supporting the vaccination programme having clearly broken the inevitability of high case numbers = high hospitalisations = high deaths we are still fixated by the growth in cases, and I'm fully ready for the word 'sobering' to be used when daily case inevitably push past 10,000 in the next few days and used as justification for a delay. Even if the delay is only brief, or even if there is no delay and we enjoy a relatively normal summer, it is inevitable that if it takes off again (particularly if a vaccine-evading variant arrives) then we will shut down yet again, irrespective of the cost of doing that, because we just won't let it go.
We hear a lot about inquiries but I don’t think they will amount to much.
The narrative around enquiries is already a bit worrying. Rather than looking at this from all angles (including finally examining the interlocked questions of 'was it actually worth fighting this given the damage we have done in the process?' and 'how many people have or will die from the effects of the interventions rather than the disease?') it instead is clearly going to be fixated only on how the death toll from the disease could have been made lower. Of course that is important to consider, but given the severe damage that responding to Covid has done, an enquiry shouldn't be restricted solely to some sort of 'justice for the bereaved' event determining that sooner, harder or longer lasting lockdowns would have reduced Covid deaths by x%, yet it is obvious already that it is exactly what it will be.
I don’t see there being any sort of economic crash. The industry I work in, which had to close and has recently reopened, has massively outperformed against expectations with numbers - despite 50% capacity restrictions - already being at 75% of the equivalent period of 2019. Local pubs and restaurants are busy every evening.
My local pub is busy too - but it must also be remembered that they have only traded for 7 out of the past 15 months. As well as the huge amount of general trade which they could have done during those other 8 months, and being unable to trade normally since last March, they've also lost out on the following major busy periods:

Mother's Day 2020
Easter 2020
Both May 2020 bank holidays
Father's Day 2020
Christmas 2020 (Tier 3 at the time)
New Years 2020
Mother's Day 2021
Easter 2021
First May 2021 bank holiday trying to trade outdoors in the pissing rain which didn't really work.

Being busy now doesn't make up for that.

We still don't know the full effects on the economy and the jobs market due to furlough which is still propping up people in jobs which they either will never go back to or won't be able to carry on with under the same terms once the scheme ends. Even without an explicitly acknowledged 'crash' (which I imagine any government still in power immediately post-pandemic will go out of their way to avoid acknowledging), there will still be huge tax pressures on people and businesses alike. Remember, the government haven't yet come asking for the vast sums of money back which they have spent to prop things up. I can see every sort of tax across the board increasing sharply over the next few years to pay for this which will force prices up just as spending power is limited.

I don't know your industry, but being down 25% on 2019 on top of a period of being down 100% on 2019 through closures is not something which too many businesses can wear. Determining that it's not as bad as might have been expected in the circumstances does not alter that these losses are unaffordable. It may not mean a business collapses in every case, but they can't simply absorb it either. A combination of staff cuts adding to unemployment and increased prices will be inevitable to try and recoup from this. My own income comes from a combination of employment and a freelance interest. I am lucky that my employer has survived (as has my job) but that doesn't alter that they have had to cut staff in response to the fall in business, and my freelance work has almost completely dried up. What is also concerning for my employer (and therefore for me as an employee) is that what had been assumed was that 2020 would be a difficult year which could be managed out of into a better 2021, but we are now halfway through 2021 and things are no better than they were a year ago.

I'm not at risk of becoming homeless (not yet anyway), but I don't have the disposable which I had pre-March 2020 (and that which I do have I now need to think much more carefully about spending than I would have done previously) and so I can no longer afford to spend the same money in the retail or hospitality industries as I did then, which in turn helped those businesses to continue trading and employing people. And I'm one of the lucky ones - at least I haven't (yet) lost my job. What happens to everyone who has?
Humphrey Hacker
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue 06 Apr, 2021 21.47

Another aspect and I will admit here I have a personal interest is the psychological damage that the pandemic has caused, is calling and will cause for a long time to come. We have gone through one of the darkest periods of our history and its shown many aspects of our world that we had either hitherto not known about or did know about but chose to ignore it.

We have been scared out of our wits by this. Our television screens have been full of death and disaster. Our streets and cities have been turned into modern day versions of the "Marie Celeste" and the conspiracy theorists have had a field day.

I'm grateful that my family and I are safe but the toll has been huge. And the anxiety levels are sky high. I personally feel and I hope that I'm proven wrong that if there is another change before 21st June then many people in this country will lose their tempers.
cwathen
Posts: 1179
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

Humphrey Hacker wrote: Thu 10 Jun, 2021 19.25 Another aspect and I will admit here I have a personal interest is the psychological damage that the pandemic has caused, is calling and will cause for a long time to come. We have gone through one of the darkest periods of our history and its shown many aspects of our world that we had either hitherto not known about or did know about but chose to ignore it.

We have been scared out of our wits by this. Our television screens have been full of death and disaster. Our streets and cities have been turned into modern day versions of the "Marie Celeste" and the conspiracy theorists have had a field day.

I'm grateful that my family and I are safe but the toll has been huge.

And the anxiety levels are sky high. I personally feel and I hope that I'm proven wrong that if there is another change before 21st June then many people in this country will lose their tempers.
I have a personal vested interest in mental health care provision and consideration of mental health issues. Consideration and general awareness of mental health has moved on an awful lot in the past 10 years. No one can claim provision is where it needs to be but I thought it had become accepted that mental health was just as important as physical health for a person to be deemed healthy overall. No one can claim that parity had been reached but I felt it was a goal that was being slowly worked towards - and crucially at least was not going backwards.

The past year has patently shown that not to be the case.

This pandemic was the first real test of whether we truly care about mental health, and we utterly failed it. People who live on their own and had been furloughed from their job were suddenly told they were not allowed any face to face contact with anyone (remember that living on your own being a reason to form a support bubble only came much later) and that was supposed to just be fine. Literally nothing at all about mental health was said in the run up to or immediate implementation of the first lockdown.

Then when it did start to get considered, the idea that people were redirected to websites to perform mindfulness techniques to help with mental health concerns as if that would do was a laughable failing to understand the problems faced. 'But I can't live like this, what about the damage to my mental health?' asks the person who is expected to essentially live in solitary confinement. 'Not my problem mate, stopping the spread of Covid is more important than your mental health' was essentially the response from both the establishment and the masses. How many months did it actually take before it was accepted that some provision for preserving mental health in the form of support bubbles had to be considered more important than Covid spread? It certainly took a good while.

The mental health toll both on those with pre-existing mental health conditions and also those who had never previously experienced mental health problems will be huge. What will be done to help? Hopefully something, but based on how we initially ignored it altogether, we are clearly not as far along as we claimed to be in the years immediately preceding the pandemic if the first really big public health emergency since the supposed advent of taking mental health seriously basically ignored it then treated it as an inconvenient afterthought.

Will there be a mass outcry over June 21st being missed? Personally I think there should be, but I doubt there will be.
thegeek
Posts: 671
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 12.35

I admit to not having been following too closely, but it seems like the current rise in cases is mostly amongst younger age groups, who are of course last to be vaccinated (and I guess most likely to want to be out socialising).

I wonder what sort of modelling was done in terms of the roll-out once the medially vunerable was done - is working down through the age groups a few years at a time a sensible way to do it? Would it have been better once they got to the under 40s to just start inviting people at random and have a good scattering of immunity across the general population?
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