COVID turned the market upside down. With restrictions on international travel, people cooped up in their houses, and minimum in-person interactions, things were bound to change. The question now is: Are pandemic-driven changes here to stay?
More than a year and a half working from home brought many people to the realization that they don’t necessarily need to drive 40 minutes one-way, every day only to sit at a desk in their office. It was observed that we do already have the technology to support extensive communication, collaboration, and real-time data sharing and editing online and to run automated processes efficiently without constant human supervision.
The result: SAVED RESOURCES. Optimization of time, money and human resources has been one of the greatest learnings from what is viewed as one of the most widespread global crises in human history. In the packaging industry, where long-term goals are somewhat consistent throughout the world, international associations and education have been made easier by the “Zoom” era.
The beginning of complete lockdowns in many economic capitals was accompanied by a surge in “free webinars” which not only helped individual brands share their expertise but also build an extensive, international network. Sustainability is one of the most sought-after features in every niche of the packaging industry, was extensively talked about, researched, and debated considering the hike in hygiene standards and drop in reusability that was brought about by COVID.
With the expectation of things returning to “normal”, we wonder if we want EVERYTHING to go back to the way it was. Virtual expos and Webinars have seen higher participation rates in the past two years than many in-person events ever before. The world has been brought closer together while being confined to each’s own living room.
For the packaging industry specifically, since webinars and virtual events lead to higher rates of global involvement, standardization can be accelerated across countries by increasing discourse.
As we continue to dig deeper into what the “new normal” will look like, we observe more and more changes in trends that are here to stay.