If there’s one thing I’ve been consistently reminded of over the past several months, it’s that change is hard and not everyone embraces it. As we sat in pandemic-induced isolation, reflecting on all that has changed and imagining all that would be, we had time to reconsider past practices that no longer work and new innovations that could improve our working and living environments.
I, myself, am a creature of habit. I like structure. When something or someone disrupts my routine or alters the structure I work in, I have to remind myself over and over that it’s for the greater good. People aren’t trying to tick me off. They’re just trying to get things done in new and creative ways, in order to adapt to the current environment.
It’s not easy for the business community right now. Businesses have new expenses to endure and new protocols to follow. This comes at a cost during an economic crisis, and just trying to survive is a challenge. However, on the positive side, some businesses will embrace change moving forward. Long after this pandemic has ended, the changes they made out of necessity will aid them towards success in the future.
Among the biggest change is the realization that a lot of work can be done from home. Working remotely is now seen as beneficial. Board meetings have been replaced by Skype meetings. Fewer folks are spending time commuting, allowing more time with family. With fewer cars on the road, the air is cleaner. Worldwide, emission-detecting satellite images show a dramatic decline in air pollution over major cities.
Then, there are personal habits our society has made routine. We are washing our hands more frequently. Food preparation in restaurants has been scrutinized to ensure the safety of patrons. Social distancing has not only limited the spread of COVID-19 but the spread of other viruses. All in all, we look differently and cautiously at everything we touch and breathe in.
Perhaps the one change many of us noticed is more public awareness of the importance of supporting local businesses and community social programs. We all knew the benefits of shopping and supporting local in the past, but we have become a lot more diligent in doing so during this pandemic. This is something we can all do and, more importantly, benefit from. Let us hope this practice continues long into the future.
In short, I know I’m not the only one longing for a return to normal. However, instead of rushing back to normal, we should use this time to consider what parts of "normal" are worth rushing back to.