Sharee Robertson, SVP Sales
Home offices have come a long way in the last month — becoming a Zoomer, professional from the waist up only, an endless supply of coffee and new four legged workmates! However with businesses planning and starting to reopen and people slowly moving back to their old work environments, I do wonder what the new normal will look like.
I believe we will all feel some mixed emotions. Fear has become a powerful motivator of human behavior with the presence of COVID-19. The thought of moving outside the safety of our home will cause worry, anxiety and concern around the risk of catching the potentially deadly virus, as we attempt to expand our bubbles to the work environment. New behaviors are emerging, and people will go to extraordinary measures to mitigate risk.
We have certainly witnessed this with the changes to the weekly grocery shop. I now observe people wearing face masks, gloves and steering shopping carts obscenely across the aisle to ensure we are exercising social distancing. These are new behaviors that we as a society are adopting as a direct result of what we know and understand about COVID-19 — and there will be more changes to our ‘everyday life’.
Perhaps the most prevalent new behavior is the aversion to touching surfaces outside our home. Take grocery shopping again — gloves are more common than not, as shoppers use them as a barrier to directly touching surfaces or items. This got me thinking — what if there was a way we could help to reduce touch to ensure personal safety as people make their way to their working bubbles?
And there is.
A recent study was conducted by PYMTS in the US during the first week of the pandemic, specific to human behaviors. 2128 consumers were surveyed, and as part of the survey they were asked about their public transport usage. Over 71% of respondents said they have stopped or lessened how much they use public transport. With this in mind, is it possible we are adopting a new mindset? We are, and people will make more use of their own vehicles to travel to work, providing further confidence in personal safety. This creates a new bubble – the car.
As people return to their work environments, they are going to want to stay in their bubble as long as possible, and will actively seek out the safest parking option that allows them to achieve this. With the development of digital parking technology, such as inugo’s, there is now an opportunity to provide the parker with the safe, touchless experience they are after. Not having to touch the ticketing machine or pay stations, being able to open gates without having to put the window down, paying for their sessions electronically through mobile apps — these are the options that parkers want and will be basing their choices around where they park.
So while technology has kept us safe by making working at home possible, let’s continue to utilize technology to make parking and work bubbles as safe as we can. Even if we can’t have the comfort of track pants and slippers, we can have the reassurance that we are minimizing our risk going back to the workplace.