The coronavirus pandemic has exerted enormous pressure on society and been a catalyst for change that many of us never foresaw. There is a view that we have all changed and all in different ways.
Some forecasts are easy, the development of a cashless society, the increase in remote work, the decline of brick-and-mortar retail and reinvention of the high street. The more difficult changes are those which are invisible. Some argue that that the end of the pandemic will be, for this generation, the same as the end of the Great Depression and World War Two in previous eras. However, the argument is that depressions and wars were easier as more black and white. The pandemic is all about the invisible dangers.
Today’s young adults do think differently from earlier generations. They are less self-orientated and care more about the common good, about the environment, about society.
There is a view that the pandemic will have a long-lasting impact as behaviours will now have changed to a greater level than is understood. It will define the younger generations as it has impacted every aspect of daily life from the death of loved ones to changing work environments to making the transition into work and adulthood far more difficult for all those who either graduated in 2020 or left school. They both need to find their place in the world and there is an argument that their confidence will have been undermined. Worse, they will need to face the economic fall-out more than most leaders. The world has become even more unpredictable and uncomfortable and how will this change behaviours?
Today’s young adults do think differently from earlier generations. They are less self-orientated and care more about the common good, about the environment, about society. This is a real positive but the problem is that even before Covid, many younger talents had already exhibit higher levels of anxiety and depression than older generations. The traditional characteristic of youth is a willingness to reach out and try new things, but the pandemic has undermined this. The teaching of the last year has been “play safe, no risk-taking, protect lives”. Many of us had great, positive experiences in our youthful adventures in our youth but the last year has been spent in isolation and too often in a single room, whether working or socialising via Zoom. It will naturally have changed the way many view life.
There are no easy answers but the one thing which has long been important is a natural belief, arrogance and boldness of the young. Fear normally comes with time. It is sad to see anxiety, stress and depression creep into the young, so the challenge is to somehow turn this on its head.