Of all the changes that we saw arising during two years of pandemic precautions, perhaps the most remarkable was a shift in how people saw their homes. When home became the total live-work-play environment for so many people, they recognized that they wanted home to be different. To put it bluntly, home became more than a hub.
For so long, folks regarded home as the base for outside activities and the flurry of weekly errands, the place where you went for rest and restoration after work – before rising to do it all again the next day. When people saw home as more than a hub, then millions of folks wanted more, or different, or better.
A more resourceful home is the vision that drove a high-energy homebuying market. For those who stayed put, the vision of a more resourceful home led to a different approach to decorating, layout, and operations.
What Changes Will Stay?
From kitchen tables to the boardrooms of big business – or at least in the Zoom calls that took the place of executive conferences for many months – what changes will continue to change and what changes will remain with us? Most of our other concerns depended on foreseeing what our world would be like when the threat of a global pandemic subsided, and precautions eased. That picture is still in motion, yet some features of it are becoming clear.
After about a year of pandemic precautions, a research study reported that more than 80% of people would like to continue working from home, and more than 70% of employers were interested in letting them do that. Part of the boom in real estate and home sales stemmed from people finding that they no longer had to live within commuting distance of an office.
An example of something that remained the same turned out to be travel. Recently, Boeing received its largest-ever order for jets from United Airlines. Cruise lines are preparing to set sail again and anticipate a surge of pent-up demand. A travel industry forecaster predicted that trans-Atlantic travel would see a new peak this summer.
The Home of a Different Answer
What will change and what will stay the same? A third kind of answer is one we see here at The Church Mouse. The third answer is that some things that were important before the pandemic have become even more important to people as we see it subside. We see this in the passion of our volunteers to serve, the willingness of donors to pass along fine things that they feel others will get more good from using, and the desire for shoppers to get back to a world in which they can examine and select their purchases in-person.
Furnishing a home that has become a workplace or adding comfort where a restorative environment became even more important or just giving the family a needed change of scene – all these motives send folks to The Church Mouse, to get and to give. And as always, some see the good works and want to join in as volunteers.
Where the Need Has Grown
The more than 50 charitable endeavors to which The Church Mouse contributes find that there is an even greater need for their work than ever before. The pandemic was far harder on families whose work depended on their presence and personal contact. Hospitality workers, food and beverage specialists, home and child-care workers, and many others who are the backbone of the Lowcountry workforce found their livelihoods practically extinguished during the depths of the pandemic. The return of the need for their services has been uncertain and hesitant, in all too many cases.
As a result, the need for what we do at The Church Mouse is greater than ever. For this reason and many others, our gratitude for donors, volunteers, and customers is at an all-time high. Everything about The Church Mouse seems more clearly focused than ever, including our thanks.