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The second-order effect is a mental model that helps with making better life decisions. To control your life in a better way, you will need to think beyond the obvious consequences, especially focusing on trends that will shape the foreseeable future.
During the corona pandemic, there is a lot of thinking about what we can expect to happen in the next months, or even years, especially when it comes to the inevitable changes it will bring to everyone’s relationships, friendships, home life, religion, physical and mental health.
Before the pandemic, most people had a busy lifestyle that was leaving them with a few hours a day to spend with their loved ones. Due to self-isolation measures families have started spending all day together which meant a great deal of change for all the members, young as well as elderly. Having that said, family and relationship dynamics have shifted dramatically since now there is no means of distancing from potential problems or conflicts. This could lead to more arguments and, in some cases, even higher divorce rates. Parents with kids will have a chance to talk to them more, get to know them better, and have a deeper understanding of their school development and knowledge. On the other hand, there will be couples who will experience a positive change in their sex life that might even lead to new pregnancies since condom shortages will become inevitable. In this case, a lot of childbirths, both at home and in the hospital, will take place in a 9 to 10-month period. Also, there will be a lot of families who will invite elderly members to live with them to ensure they have the best care, and to help them if they are disabled in any way. That will have a strong influence on both their mental and physical health since they will spend less time alone. For those who are single, it will become obvious who is their devoted friend or partner, since people who want to stay in touch and help each other will prove worthy of their affection. The level of commitment will either bring people together or, in some cases, away from each other. There will be lesser opportunities for regular dating, but more space for online dating and long Zoom calls. What’s more, this type of dating will produce a big cultural shift concerning hetero relationships and monogamy, since relationships will no longer be public, and everyone will be free to choose a partner of their liking. Nightstands will become a less popular option because people will not be able to leave their homes often and travel to a distant address. When it comes to cheating, the circumstances will make it less plausible, yet an online form of it will always be available. What is certain is that a ‘hookup’ culture will be in sharp decline. In general, when people spend more time together, whether they are friends, roommates, family members, or partners, their relationship becomes more honest since everything is out in the open. And while certain people will reconnect with each other, others will distance themselves, even more, realizing that something must change. New opportunities will arise for a variety of couple counseling therapies and support since many will be facing a lot of trouble that would acquire the presence of divorce lawyers. Couples who unexpectedly find themselves with a small kid will need large amounts of clothes and help from a virtual midwife that will provide useful guidance. For others, online demand for sex toys, stimulating content, and the online sex industry will expand since single people will be looking for it frequently. Those who are in need of a partner will surely turn to online dating platforms and online relationships.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, people did not pay a lot of attention to their home workspaces, what’s more, many didn’t even have them. When they realized that the home would become a new office, it became pivotal to make it more comfortable and fully functional. New home offices required new desks, chairs, wall artwork, and plants to make their space pleasant for working. Also, there is a high demand for new headsets, webcams, new mice, or even a new home computer and an upgrade for higher internet speed or a new subscription. Streaming services will find themselves in a situation to reduce content resolution to uphold bandwidth. Spending more time at home means that heating and cooling bills will be higher or that many would want more space since their apartment feels claustrophobic. Moreover, some people will want to have a bigger home on the city outskirts, with a garden to be able to produce their home-grown organic food and save significantly on food expenses. Also, the ‘home storage’ industry will start growing exponentially, since many will need well-organized pantries to store all the food they have bought or produced. Pet owners have found themselves in an odd situation since they could spend so much more time with their pets, however, food prices went up, so they had to improvise a lot. Many of them started adopting more pets since they felt they had enough time for their training and care. In some areas, they were the only ones who could get outside and walk their dogs, and even their neighbors offered help with dog walking, only to be able to get some fresh air. People without pets who want to be active started working on their hobbies like gardening, painting, crafts, playing musical instruments, furniture refurbishing, etc. while others prefer spending more time on social media and playing games. All of them will inevitably start decluttering their furniture, old computers, games, tablets, etc., making sure they have only things that are real necessities. It is expected to see TV providers having higher retention rates, while social media will burst in content. Since sports will still be popular, new AR/VR tech might help in enhancing the sports experience, as well as replace outdoor recreation for those who stayed locked in their houses. New opportunities will arise in the development of new collaboration apps for remote workers and virtual offices. Also, architects and home décor bloggers will be in demand to provide solutions on how to remodel a home adding an office to an existing layout.
Both mental and physical health is challenged when people spend too much time inside their homes and, most commonly in front of screens. With more time on their hands, more people realized how important it is to eat healthily and exercise from time to time to prevent obesity. Others started over-eating just to keep up with the stress and anxiety since the helpful medication was not available all the time. People who had some medication prescribed will start hoarding it, as well as alcohol or other medicine that affect coronavirus. The Healthcare system was not able to offer its help to everyone during the pandemic and many people had to put off their therapies or stay at home waiting for another appointment. Mental health became more important than ever for every person who experienced coronavirus lockdowns. Many therapists started doing online sessions, people started dealing with depression, loneliness, and job loss anxiety. Mental health suddenly became de-stigmatized as more people recognized their struggles and started asking for professional help. People realized what was important and stopped feeling stressed all the time since they could manage their work better from their homes. At the same time, other people started feeling anxious whenever they would go out feeling afraid that they will get infected avoiding every unnecessary in-person meeting.
The question of religion often gets raised in troubling times. In some communities, this leads to increased participation in community events, because of the company and comfort that others provide. Also, sales of religious books usually increase since every person wants to have a personal copy of the Bible, Quran, or any other religious scripture. Religion also helps in demanding situations when loved ones are lost, but due to lockdown, it becomes impossible to attend it. There might be an opportunity for online funeral services to appear since there will be no other way of saying goodbye to deceased family members and connecting with others in various online religious communities. In big cities a high death rate might lead to capacity shortages in terms of burials or cremations, leading to the inevitable creation of mass graves.
The pandemic will have a strong influence on every known industry and a lot of already people lost their jobs due to the bankruptcy of highly leveraged businesses. With less money, things in every industry will start to change dramatically and consumerist habits will have to disappear. That will lead to mortgage and rent going default and increase the possibility of property management companies going out of business. Firstly, people started holding on to their money and saving by reducing all their nonessential expenses, and at the same time using a card and wireless payments has become more popular due to hygienic standards that in the case of a card, allow you to clean your card and hands faster. However, credit card companies are seeing reduced portfolios. Only people with a steady income throughout this crisis will finish the year will a good-looking figure.
When the coronavirus pandemic became a world problem, the first question everyone asked was can it be controlled in big cities. Indeed, the virus is spreading faster in cities because of their social unrest due to a high number of events taking place at the same time. It is proven that viruses get into countries through big cities and airports most of them have. Taking everything into account, cities will become less popular as time passes since life in the suburbs will be more beneficial during this crisis. New opportunities will open up in the house real estate market in suburban areas with a special focus on areas that provide stable internet connection for freelancers and remote workers. Working from home and collaborating through various online platforms will transform the way people used to work and introduce a significant transformation of their way of life.