The world-wide pandemic seems to be winding down (hopefully for good!), and we are beginning to return to some semblance of ‘normal’. The pandemic was undoubtedly very difficult, and because challenging experiences are often our best teachers, many of us have emerged from it stronger; perhaps that is the eternal optimist in me always looking for the good in people and situations! Here are a few of those lessons that can help us be better colleagues, business leaders, humans. Call it our “Post-Pandemic Keep-Doing List”.
- Creativity and innovation. The pandemic forced us out of our comfort zones. We had to learn new things and do things differently. Old ways were quickly broken, and new ways forced to begin. Simply put, we had to change. Change can be uncomfortable. But it is when we break old habits that we see things in new ways, we gain new experiences, we learn, and creativity opens up. Imagine what we could accomplish if we were always innovating like this, and not just when forced to.
- Attention to environmental factors affecting health. Things that we have known to be important, but perhaps had allowed to wane over time, were brought to light again. The importance of good hygiene, like handwashing and sanitizing. The importance of building maintenance and cleaning activities, like frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces. The importance of indoor air quality like with the introduction of fresh outdoor air and good air filtration. These things continue to be relevant even after COVID.
- Digital collaboration. Video conference technology has been around for many years now, but it was not widely adopted. Suddenly, with social distancing and stay-at-home orders, everyone was thrust into a digital world. The way to connect with other humans and conduct business was through video. Amazingly, folks who were once shy of cameras were now in front of them daily, no more trepidation. We were connecting with family members, friends, customers, and colleagues more frequently than we would have previously when meaningful connections were reliant on physical proximity and required travel. Employers and employees discovered that they could work effectively outside of the office and still conduct business. Teachers and students found that learning wasn’t confined to a classroom. Physical separation no longer has to be a barrier to connecting us with others.
- Unity without a common enemy. There is nothing like a common enemy to bring folks together. WWII, 9/11, COVID-19. When people are faced with a shared threat, it is amazing how they quickly put aside their differences and work together. It’s unfortunate that it takes serious catastrophes to get people with different views to cooperate and work toward a common goal. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have unity with no common enemy?
- Quality time with people we love. Forced confinement at home provided the opportunity to spend more quality time with close loved ones. Slowing down. Talking. Getting to know each other better. Playing games, reading, engaging in hobbies, watching movies… together. The things people used to do before the Internet age. Simply being together, with fewer distractions, and forming closer bonds. This is something we know is important, and we need more of, but find increasingly difficult to do in our fast-paced, distracted world. Let’s not wait for the next calamity to devote quality time to those who matter the most.
(L-R: Kevin, Heather, Darren and Megan Witter, Holidays 2020)
Let’s capitalize on the important lessons from the pandemic and not be so quick to go back to ‘normal’ in all respects. Normal isn’t always best.
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein