Trends of 2020: A year of remote living

Covid-19 led to our normal lives being upended for most of 2020, with our working lives, and pretty much everything else, moving online. So what did we learn from this virtual existence? And what parts might we keep when the pandemic is done?

While the first two months of 2020 might have been relatively normal – in the UK at least – by late February, coronavirus was all most people were talking about. And yet, when the UK’s lockdown finally began in earnest on March 23, it still felt like a shock, with many businesses unprepared for remote living.

Looking back, those early months were a rollercoaster ride of rapid change as we adjusted to working remotely, and communicating with our friends and family virtually (remember all those Zoom quizzes?). Other areas of our lives had to adapt too, with many businesses and organisations having to rapidly speed up their digital offering or risk going bust.

There has been huge disruption and devastation in certain sectors, with hospitality, the arts, and the events industries particularly suffering. But there have also been great examples of creative thinking to help get us through this period. And the loss of so many of our much-loved activities – going to the theatre or a gig, meeting a friend in a restaurant – also served to highlight just how important they are to our lives.

As soon as it’s possible, it is likely that we will rush back to many of our old habits, yet this period of enforced isolation and the rapid lesson in remote living it has brought is also likely to have lasting change on how we operate in the world. Here, we examine what impact it may have on the worlds of work, retail and events.