It’s extraordinary to think that last week we all got excited about being able to see up to six people out of doors and that many of us seized the opportunity with both hands the minute we were able. Some children returned to school too and were reportedly very excited to be back amongst their friends and learning.
Next we have to find ways to move things further forward in order to maintain and grow businesses without putting people at risk. Technology certainly has some answers to these problems, not only with remote working but with making our office environments more distanced and producing ways to keep us all safe. Offices and buildings will be equipped with temperature sensors, apps to track our movements and ways to avoid touching surfaces.
But beyond helping us to manage safe interaction at work and at leisure, technology companies will have a vital role in helping to shape the future. We now know that reducing traffic has an immediate and beneficial effect on air pollution. We now know that some of our supply lines are at considerable risk in certain circumstances. We now know that our national infrastructure has insufficient slack when a crisis arises. We have a clearer idea of what the consequences are when the world comes to a stop, we can see the vulnerabilities and we can see the strengths. Technology will help us to fill the gaps and it will help us to map out solutions.
However, there is more to life than sitting at a desk safely. The biggest issues being talked about as I write are how to reopen pubs and restaurants and whether we can go on holiday. What this tells me is that face-to-face human interaction is absolutely vital in almost every aspect of our lives. We are social animals, we work best when we are collaborative, we think best when we have others to bounce ideas off. No amount of remote contact can beat an informal chat after a meeting or a face-to-face exchange of views.
Thanks to technology, members of the Pluralists Club have been meeting online throughout lockdown but there is no denying the benefits of traditional networking at events or over a pint. When making a deal, we need to see the whites of each other’s eyes and cementing a relationship of any kind only really works when we are in the same room. Roll on technology but roll on that happy day when we can meet in real life, even if that will be in the garden of someone’s house outside London in the first instance rather than at our Clubhouse in London.