As we begin the long journey back to “normal,” it’s worth questioning: what does normal even look like? What policies should be put in place? What will production shoots look like? If hockey games don’t host fans, WILL GRITTY STILL BE THERE?! It’s a lot to sort out—but we’ll leave that to the experts. In the meantime, let’s tackle the only slightly-less-serious concerns.
The new corporate handshake will be:
The foot tap.
An elaborate bird of paradise-style ritual. And we judge.
COVID-19 has made us intimately aware of our hands, our surroundings, and our own invisible clouds of grossness (legit scientific term). This consciousness will fade over time, for some faster than others. But “Why are we doing this online?” will probably be replaced by “Is there any reason to do this in person?”. After all, large-scale events—the NFL draft, “One World,” my family’s virtual Easter brunch—are done really well, with a new level of authenticity (and heightened possibilities for meme-ability). Coming out of this “unprecedented” global event, we’ll establish new rules, new expectations, and new social norms. So yeah, handshakes may very well loosen their grip as the de-facto greeting. Which just might be for the best (See: invisible clouds of grossness).
Our level of trust in robots:
We anoint them as official family members.
We rebel, T2 style.
Much like cover bands and gas station hot dogs, robots get a bad rap. And if they actually had feelings, I think they’d be very sad. Like it or not, we relied on robots prior to the pandemic and, now, exponentially more. As the US increasingly morphs into a service economy, robots are vital. I’d argue those in the anti-bot camp don’t hate the actual robots (whatever those really are—I tend to picture the “Short Circuit” dude), but rather, the mechanical interactions. If we design experiences that carve out proper roles for both humans and their service stunt doubles—while avoiding canned robotic solutions to uniquely human challenges—we can provide more satisfying, smarter, faster service (and delightfully absurdist memes).
Wherever we end up, remember that we’re incredibly adaptive and MacGyver-like in our pursuit of human connection. So chin up and elbows out (as another alternative for greetings).
Have a great weekend, everyone (insert your preferred virtual handshake here), – Your crystal-ball-gazing friends at Brokaw.
“Why are we doing this online?” will probably be replaced by “Is there any reason to do this in person?”