These days, vaccination has become commonplace; a wonder of science rendered mundane by its widespread impact.
Indeed, it’s a 19th century term, coined by its inventor Edward Jenner, which (before 2020) few of us have likely ever given a second thought
Until the pandemic, that is. With tens of millions already jabbed, we appear to be heading back towards a tentative state of ‘new’ normal later this year.
Which means that, for most of us, it will have been longer than a year in a state of flux, punctuated by social distancing restrictions and various lockdowns.
I remember a time when the “new normal” was a phrase barely uttered outside financial services circles, referring to historically low interest rates, coupled with negligible inflation, following the undertow of the credit crisis.
Now, it has an altogether wider currency. While I don’t believe the pandemic will spell the end of working in offices, commuting, and teaming up with colleagues in person, it has fundamentally changed what we will regard as normal in the months and years to come.
The last 12 months has, if anything, accelerated the pace of change we were already seeing in remote working, meeting and transacting - but it’s premature to suggest that virtually will be the only way we’ll “have our work hat on”.
As I’ve written previously, our priority at the outset of this emergency was to stay in touch with our clients and contacts. Picking up the phone was one of the decidedly non-digital actions we took first.
And while your feedback told us that was appreciated, we were also busy ensuring our services and guidance could be accessed easily online.
With that in mind, we launched two businesses. Aspire to Retire supports employers seeking to set their staff in their 50s on the appropriate path for later life, be that bidding goodbye to the office or striking out on a new venture, going part-time or on a permanent holiday.
It does so by deploying email “nudges”, letting your people know well in advance what they need to be thinking about to be prepared for a time after work in a way that can be accessible, manageable and effective.
In the past I’ve written extensively about the generation gap in the workplace. With the pandemic having an impact on both the youngest and oldest in the workforce, some of the areas we cover might well have come into sharper focus during this time.
Aspire Benefits Manager was also aimed at organisations who want to give their people relevant and attractive benefits in a cost-effective, intuitive way as an online platform.
Meanwhile, we continue to ensure our nationwide adviser network stay in touch via technology and telephone to help clients with their financial lives, from savings and corporate pension schemes to mortgages and insurance.
Let’s all hope that the sacrifices we’ve had to make to adapt to this new reality will be consigned to memory as the injection programme reaches critical mass. Perhaps it will also mean vaccination will go from being key to the future to again being part of the furniture.