HOW is your banana bread these days? Are you still cycling three miles a day? And how is that puppy? Must be four years old now.

May 23, 2020 was the day the UK went into Covid lockdown – the day our lives changed in so many ways.

Exactly four years on there is no doubt many people are still feeling the effects of the pandemic.

Physically and mentally there are countless thousands of people suffering, or grieving for loved ones lost. The trauma is very real.

So I absolutely do not want this column to be seen as a flippant analysis of the pandemic.

But I can’t help thinking that for many the lockdown brought benefits and new experiences that they’re missing now.

I remember one newspaper columnist referring to it as “a glorious 18-month holiday”, where people learned languages, read books, dodged the trauma of foreign holidays and instead went for nice long walks in the park. And, of course, learned to bake banana bread!

Covid brought new words to our vocabulary, like furlough. And it introduced a whole new way of working. Don’t go into the office, stay at home.

And we’re still doing it – in the UK more than any other country. Statistically we are “the work from home capital of Europe”.

A survey has shown that in the UK employees on average are still working from home 1.5 days a week – compared to the international average of 0.9.

Technology makes such a shift in working patterns easier. But is it a good thing, either for the employer or the employee? Is it more or less efficient? What about human interaction?

I worked from home in my final years with the BBC and found it really isolating. 

Yet many people I talk to now are actively resisting going back to the old ways of working. Some hardly ever go into the office.

One thing has changed though – we no longer end every email with: “Stay safe”.

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