In any life there are events that change everything. We live in a world that shifts and changes as events impact us. Think about some events that have changed everything, for the foreseeable future. Post the Kennedy assassination motorcades for presidents were different. Following the Challenger disaster new safety was imposed on all space travel. Post 911 air travel changed forever: who could have imagined the TSA? Post Sandyhook schools everywhere strengthened their protections for school children.
And Post-COVID-19? We can almost see that finish line with the release of vaccines. What has changed forever? I have a few thoughts.
- We will never take handshakes for granted. I am not sure we will return to them at all, but if we do I suspect no one will be judged for failing to extend their hand. Even fist bumps may be suspect, and elbow bumps may be the new protocol.
- Signatures will not be expected as the only affirmation. Have you noticed that many businesses no longer require your signature at the time you purchase something with a card? And as Centers we know we can now use an electronic signature or have a staff person verify what used to be signed consumer statements. I suspect this is a long-term change, and we will see businesses and other entities much more comfortable with verification methods other than signatures.
- Working remotely will be part of an individual work schedule, because we’ve learned we can be very effective working from home. We will have new ways to measure performance, other than just time.
- Employers will be more involved in the health and well-being of staff. As staff have moved through their own challenges, employers have been beside them, adjusting work schedules, understanding when kids are working in the background, granting mental health days, discussing the fears and challenges of the pandemic. I hope this is a permanent change. It has made workplaces more welcoming and flexible.
- We are better at using technology. A year ago there was talk about Artificial Intelligence displacing people; and about people who can’t adapt to technology being displaced. We are using technology tools better than ever, including people who struggled with the technology a few months ago. I think this is a permanent change — the world needs technology and is using it well.
- We are better at creating a healthy environment. From cleaning techniques to mental health support, offices are better than they used to be.
- People are more included, less marginalized. If your center has more than one office, or has board members from more than one county, you have already seen them responding to the new, more equal playing field of having everyone on the call have equal status. When two-thirds of the group is around the table, the ones participating by phone or video are never really equal in their opportunity to discuss things. Now that everyone is on video with an equal opportunity to participate, they are more included.
Share your thoughts — what else has changed that may have long-term impact?