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No Problem Madam

We have all been impacted by Covid -19 restrictions in different ways, some of these have been good and some not so. How we engage with others professionally and personally has changed and might do so for a while. Some of us will have been making use of existing and well tested models of remote engagement, ordering online, weekly grocery deliveries, and online banking. In other cases, those on whom we rely have been delivering what we need in a new way for the first time. This was their response to ensuring physical distancing, and continuing to serve but keeping customers and staff safe.

My vet now takes orders for vet food on the phone, the pharmacist delivers my prescription without asking, I am engaging with my GP via an online portal, and now on first name terms with my Tesco delivery driver. Not wanting to be too hairdresser obsessed (my last blog), my hairdresser phoned me to ask if I wanted to make an appointment. Don't get me wrong, there was good reason for that. They are surely keen to secure slots for regular clients, get the business back up and running and manage the (likely high) demand on their online booking system.

There are questions about the extent to which the customer service offered in lockdown should be a permanent feature of the landscape. Why should the delivery of medicines, food, and veterinary products be confined to the vulnerable? Surely, this way of serving the population should be part of a mix going forward as businesses reopen. Personally, I did not purchase any takeaway food during lockdown, but I know of cafes and restaurants where this is their only way of generating income just now, and might be for some time to come until social distancing rules change more dramatically. If this model works in part, how might it feature in the future. I am getting used to things coming to me directly and businesses saying yes, we can deliver. The job market is changing as a result, with delivery drivers as one of the key growing occupations.

Amongst the charities I work with, the initial Covid -19 was one of immediate risk assessment and closure and moving of services to a different model. Now, charities are looking to embed the new service delivery model as "business as usual". If there is no going back, what does the future delivery landscape look like? If charities want to say "yes we can deliver that for you?", what does this really mean in terms of our physical presence, the leadership and the infrastructure of service design and delivery.

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The world in lockdown became rather interested in hair and hairdressing. Not to undermine the significant health risks presented by Covid - 19, the closure of hairdressers and barbers has been the subject of much social and printed media traffic...