Remember endless commutes and long meetings squeezed into a room with your colleagues? Remember rushing to appointments and traveling across the country for a family reunion? The COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to a lot of how we socialize – yet we have learned so much along the way, hopefully for the better.
How We’ve Changed
While travel plans were postponed and our social circles became smaller, we all learned something about ourselves and how we handle a lockdown. Some people took up baking, others read more, and still others found more time to spend with family as many of us learned to work and study from home.
When gyms closed, people found themselves outdoors more, possibly picking up a new hobby. With fewer cars on the road and planes in the air, the environment began to heal a bit, taking a breather from the constant onslaught of carbon dioxide and human activity. We all learned to appreciate nature more, embracing the time we spent in the open air instead of indoors wearing a mask.
We also learned to appreciate people more, especially those who we had started to take for granted. We acknowledged the sacrifices that doctors and nurses have made; we were thankful for those in the service industry who still came to work; we learned what it was like to be a teacher. We saw how fragile the infrastructure of our society can be — like getting toilet paper during the early days of the pandemic — yet we also learned how resilient and adaptive we all can be.
How We Work
The pandemic has opened the door to innovating how we do business. More online businesses have flourished, as more people rely on home delivery. Personal shoppers help vulnerable populations avoid crowded stores. Curbside pick-up options have also become popular. These innovations have helped keep us safe as well as have opened new avenues for employees.
According to Forbes Magazine, people feel their productivity has increased by as much as 54% while working from home!. Many places are now encouraging employees to work from home for part of the week, but come into the office one or two days a week. This kind of hybrid work environment is also beneficial to employers, as they don’t have to rent places with high overhead for their employees; they can downsize their offices, while still increasing their profits.
The pandemic has helped us all become more efficient with our time — how we work as well as how we shop. Businesses will continue to grow and innovate as we learn how to refine the new ways we do business.
What We’ve Learned
Overall, the lessons of the pandemic have taught us how to be more patient with ourselves as well as our neighbors. Despite some of the frustrations with mask wearing and slow service in some areas, many people have learned to embrace the important things in life, and especially to value time spent with loved ones. We have found new ways of socializing, picked up hobbies, and evaluated how we work and play. While some things may never be the same, we will hopefully continue to innovate and find more ways to help and connect people. The pandemic has been challenging in a number of ways, but it has also been a time of reflection and a time to consider how we can all make our lives better.