Well, here we all are then. Normal, version 2.0

It doesn’t look normal. It doesn’t feel normal. And I’m not really sure how new it is. On the other hand, I know of something that is definitely new and I’m pretty sure will become normal in the pool maintenance business.

Since the middle of June we have witnessed the gradual easing of the COVID-19 lock down restrictions. From non-essential shops opening on the 15th to most other businesses opening on the 4th July. Social distancing restrictions have been about as varied and hard to understand as line-dancing instructions. Bubbles and family units have taken the place of simply staying home and staying safe.

And some of this is good and some of it less so.

“Stay home, stay safe,’ had the advantage of being very clear if a little draconian. Four months after that first lock down we were being told to ‘use our common sense’ and ‘stay alert’. Is it just me or can I hear Captain Mainwaring shouting both those orders to a confused and dizzy Pike as the Dad’s Army music plays.

And that masculine and warlike timbre has been present in a lot of government policy recently. Having attempted to defeat and eliminate the virus we are now declaring war on obesity as a rather roundabout way of reducing the severity of the symptoms. Governments these days seem inordinately keen to wage war on something, anything really. Perhaps it is just as well that we are taking up arms against fatness as opposed to some non-specific nation state but I think healthcare often benefits from a woman’s touch; a little more caring and a lot less conflict.

At arms length.

The GC PoolCop is an innovative pool management solution designed to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of pool maintenance and it does so by working remotely; but more of that later.

Social distancing gave rise to remote working and this is an area that has definitely shown us some unexpected benefits. Roads are quieter. Rush hour is much less of a rush. Pollution is down. For many people – and many companies – working from home is a win-win solution.

But how long will that feeling last?

It is all new and exciting for now, although of course remote working had been common in places such as the tech industries for years. Now that it has a wider spread, I wonder how managers – and the people they manage – will feel. Motivating staff and building team spirit can be difficult at the best of times. Being forced to do this while sitting in your pyjama bottoms on a Zoom call may only make it harder for many people.

The power of the web.

Apparently the economic effects of the virus have pushed the development of on-line commerce forward by at least five years. (PoolCop was already connecting the pool to the maintenance engineer over the Internet so no change there.)

More people are spending more time on their devices. We are spending more time on Facebook. We are spending more with Amazon. This isn’t really a new normal, just the old normal but more so. But will we get back to our old ways? Even after non-essential shops reopened, most people found it non-essential to visit their High Street. Many people said the town centre was dying anyway. It certainly isn’t looking well now.

And have you noticed the little change. Banks were always telling us that they were working towards a cashless society. If my usage of contactless payment is anything to go by, they have almost achieved that.

Stay safe.

GC PoolCop maintains a pool’s water quality by keeping a close eye on the filtration. The unit actually sits on top of the filter.

And in order to stay safe out of the pool, we are now all supposed to have a mask sitting on our face, and this has somewhat polarised opinion.

To stage a vast and mask-less rally in order to demonstrate your refusal to be ‘muzzled’ – even though that is for your own and everyone else’s protection and health – seems to be the height of stupidity but, as they say, to each his own.’

But how will that play out in the bigger picture?

It’s possible that mask-wearing, more authoritarian and surveillance led countries may show a greater ability to control the virus. If that becomes a significant difference, people in the more independent and free spirited west might come to believe that they would rather live under an Asian model than become infected in a western one. Now that would definitely count as a new normality.

Economic health.

We came out of lock down in order to save our sickening economy. That has only partially worked so far, but we are seeing in increase in virus cases.

For a long time, the world has been driven by the stock market’s insatiable need for growth and profit but is it now looking as if we will have to find some sort of balance?

This new world is less than eight months old. A lot has changed. A lot more will change, but you can be sure that GC PoolCop can help you improve the efficiency of your pool maintenance business.

And seriously, in these testing times, best wishes and stay safe.