The coronavirus pandemic has definitely changed the way we approach our daily lives, and since March 2020 we have experienced changes we could never have imagined. Although the progress and results we’ve seen from the vaccine have shown that there have been significant declines in reported cases, the truth is that we may never get back to the “normal” we once had. That being said, we may find a new normal that provides a host of unexpected benefits.
Many of us will look back on 2020 and 2021 as the years we wish to forget. From social distancing, mask mandates, the inability to see or hug our loved ones as we once did, life has changed. But with the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting our lives and seeing the negative things it has brought to our families and friends, our businesses and our world, it’s easy to forget that we still have a lot of things to be thankful for in 2021.
Employers have learned to trust their employees. They found themselves faced with the need to shut their doors during the pandemic, but they did not necessarily have to shut down operations. Instead, management teams and employees have come together to create virtual work environments that are not only productive and successful, but they’re enjoyable, too!
Businesses have learned how to think differently and open their minds to new ideas. Many companies have come up with new business models, restaurants that never offered takeout or drive-through have figured out how to do so, work processes have become more efficient and employers and employees have had to think out of the box to make the changes necessary to operate from remote locations.
Technology has evolved in many ways. If you had never heard of ZOOM, Microsoft TEAMS, Google Chat or any of the other virtual meeting platforms, you are most likely now proficient in using this technology. This has provided employees who are now working remotely to virtually stay connected with their co-workers and clients.
Life has slowed down a bit! With fewer places to go and fewer things to do safely, this could be viewed as a negative, however, when we sit back and think about it, has it really been that bad? The pandemic has given us the opportunity to slow down and focus on important things such as spending more quality time with our families. It has forced us to “think out of the box” to find enjoyable things to do and ways to communicate with others virtually, by phone or by mail.
It gave us a chance to reflect on what matters to us most. Some of us decided we’d get more physically fit, others tried new recipes and learned how to eat healthier, some put new self-care practices into place to manage stress and overall health, and others just took the time to take a breath and enjoy the slower pace. Whatever you discovered about yourself, it’s crazy to think that the pandemic may have provided these opportunities.
Many of us have found a way to do good for others during the pandemic. Perhaps you have an elderly relative or neighbor that you were able to assist with groceries, or you helped home school one of your friends’ children or donated to a family in need. Stories of people doing good for others have become abundant during the pandemic.
Last, but not least, Covid-19 has brought about several positive effects on the environment and climate due to the restriction and significant slowdown of social and economic activities.
With the holiday season approaching, I encourage you to take the time to reflect on the good things that have happened over the past year and be thankful for all the blessings you have received.
Heather Johnson, CEO