Chances are, you’re probably reading this article on a phone or tablet (but greetings to our computer users too). And we’d be very surprised if the phone or tablet you are holding isn’t going to be used for at least three others tasks today unrelated to making phone calls. Technology is driving the way we live our lives completely away from the strenuous past that saw us doing more for ourselves. We live in a ‘now’ culture, driven by service and the desire to pay a little bit extra for someone to do things for us.
A big effect that this phenomenon is having on us is the ever decreasing need to leave the house. The ‘bring it to me’ effect mixed with better trust and availability of instantaneous communication via the internet is allowing us to be more selective of what we do with our time and money, causing sweeping changes to everything from dining to working. To take a deeper look at the effect this is having on our society as well as the organizations we deal with, we’ve broken down the battle between going out and staying in, and what the future looks like for both combatants.
5 – Food
Let’s be honest, even if you’re Gordon Ramsey, cooking can be a total pain after a long day at work. Being cooked for is a pleasure that many Brits are more than happy to pay for, spending upwards of £4,000 on dining out every year, especially in the 18-24 age group. Fast food restaurants may be a stalwart of the ‘eating out cheap’ scene, but the chain restaurant has certainly transformed how we dine out considerably, with a wider range of foods and better quality now very easily accessible for the majority of people in the UK.
But for many, getting off the sofa and going to a local restaurant is still too much of a hassle. Ordering a takeaway certainly isn’t a new concept in the UK, but traditionally it has been either Chinese or Indian food that is ferried to us on a cold Saturday evening. However, the internet has changed things completely for chefs everywhere.
JustEat and Hungry House may have been allowing customers to order typical takeaway foods several years ago, but the real game changers have been Deliveroo and now UberEats. Instead of the ‘typical’ takeaway offerings shipped to our houses, we can pick from major chain restaurants, our favorite local sandwich shop, or even high street fast food retailers. Thanks to incredible programmed apps that manage the entire food order, the delivery driver and payment transactions, lazy diners can have their cheeky Nandos dropped straight into their hands by a young lad on a bicycle a mere 30-40 minutes after they order it on their apps.
This amazing technology has allowed restaurants to access a whole new market of customers, with cold, rainy days that may see quiet restaurant actually very busy with increased numbers of online orders. Apart from gaining extra weight, diners at home can enjoy a wider range of foods.
4 – Gambling
Way back before pretty much, every UK city center contained a casino or a trip to Las Vegas was affordable; gamblers would have to take a trip to their local bookmaker or to have a flutter, usually on a horse and eventually on other sports, fixed odds terminals and fruit machines. When the Labour government proposed super casinos back in the 90s, the idea was accepted but scaled back, with more accessible but strictly controlled gambling in purpose-built casinos offering Brits a way to win some cash.
The internet has turned the gambling industry inside out. Online gaming creates 33% of all gambling revenues in the UK, a figure which is leaping higher each year and causing high street arcades, land-based casinos, bingo halls and bookmakers to reassess their business models completely. Online operators, such as Wink Slots, have taken the industry by storm and it is easy to see why, the whole experience is extremely immersive, with a huge variety of casino games, thriving online communities and even video-streamed dealers to make the whole experience even more realistic. Another huge bonus is the much-improved odds and bigger payouts; after all, online casinos don’t have electricity bills to pay.
3 – Shopping
There were plenty of skeptics back in 1994, a full year before Amazon.com launched when an early website called NetMarket sold a Sting CD to a buyer using a specialized Unix browser. How ironic that the internet would make CDs pretty much obsolete barely a decade later.
Now, it’s difficult not to buy anything online. From online-only retailers like Asos growing by 26% in 2016 to major high street retailer John Lewis actually closing their doors on Boxing Day and only selling online, we’re not afraid to splash the cash using our phones. Instead of traipsing into town and sifting through the railing of clothes or being jostled out of the way in a flash sale, we can take our time browsing different styles, safe in the knowledge we can always send something that doesn’t fit (or looks awful) back!
2 – Work
Commuting into the office is so last century. Thanks to the internet, 24/7 phone access and a business culture that is becoming increasingly remote, more people than ever are working from home. In fact, over 4 million Brits (out of the 31.84 million people in work) work from home, either working remotely or operating as self-employed. The phrase ‘digital nomad’ has become an increasingly common, with some workers able to find employment, complete work and receive payment without ever meeting their employer. This flexibility is allowing more people than ever to remain at home while still earning a living, a situation which would have been unimaginable a couple of decades ago.
1 – Socialising
We don’t need to go to restaurants, visit shops, or even bother going to work any more thanks to the internet, leaving us plenty of time to meet friends and family or go to the pub- oh, sorry, think again.
You absolutely don’t need to leave the house to maintain one of the most basic of human needs; communication. Social media has been connecting people for a long time now, but the quality of communication and range of ways to stay in touch makes it incredibly easy for us to maintain relationships, even if we don’t see other people for a long time.
From group chats in WhatsApp helping us to keep track of our friends’ lives, complete with photos and videos, to Skype and FaceTime allowing HD video calls at no extra cost, conversations can become a lot more personal and ultimately pretty much the same as a face to face meeting.
Realistically, many of us would end up extremely bored and lonely if we never left the house, but it’s certainly becoming a lot easier to become a hermit. The scary thought is that if VR keeps improving, we may end up in a Matrix-style society where leaving the house seems weird… ok, we’re getting carried away.
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