By nature, I question what is popular. I chose to look into deep dark cracks and crevices for truth and progress. In the crevices are the gems that reflect the lowest of light. And if you're stuck in a cave, the cracks are the only opportunities to find the light.
Yes, I have thoughts on the numerous negative impacts. They are for perhaps another time. I don't pretend to fully understand the current crisis, nor the millions of different perspectives and personal experiences. Nobody can. We are forever changed. I'm offering a step back; a pause between what happens and our response.
You’re going to think I look at challenges in a strange way, confront conventional thought, problem solve at odd angles, and see the glass half full (perhaps a little too full). Here are some “step away for a moment” thoughts:
Far too many variables are unknown to fully grasp the gravity or future implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. As with life, our perspective changes our behavior and thus changes the results we get. My deepest thoughts and strongest prayers go out to everyone. We are all either directly or indirectly impacted. As I write this, we just received notice of the first two confirmed cases in our area and the first death in our state. The seriousness of and far-reaching negative impacts require no downplay and is not the purpose here.
The Flu. New Habits.
The coronavirus may save tens to hundreds of thousands of lives in the long run. The social distancing and new sanitary habits have and will continue to prevent cases of the regular flu. Since 2010 in the U.S. alone (annually), the CDC estimates that influenza has resulted and 9-45 million illnesses, 140,000-810,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 to 61,000 deaths annually. Perhaps those numbers will dramatically decrease for 2020 and 2021 and beyond based on newly forms habits. Life The first day after school closings in our area and the governor urged all non-essential businesses to shut their doors, a walk outside revealed of sounds of happiness, togetherness, and life. Families were walking together, children were playing, and life seemed normal; more normal that it has some time. I had not seen that many people outside in the neighborhood, even in the summer, for as long as I can remember…a total difference.
For so long as a society we have moved at a pace that has sunk us into unhealthy habits (both physically and mentally). Perhaps we needed a break, a series of moments to reevaluate ourselves, our relationships and where we are truly headed. Only with awareness, a new perspective, and reevaluation can we become dissatisfied with our current state. Only when we experience dissatisfaction do we become motivated to change our habits and behaviors, and head for a future better than the one we're headed for now.
Many people are spending money differently for the first time. Social distancing is keeping us from restaurants, theaters, and other entertainment. Fear of losing jobs is causing millions to buckle down and reevaluate needs versus wants. For example, many who pay their credit card bills in full each month could notice a drastic decrease from their average, expected bill in the months to come. Seeing and knowing savings is providing new financial awareness. This changes perspective, leading to financial behavior and habit change.
Yes, I have thoughts on the immeasurable financially painful, negative impacts. They are for perhaps another time.
Sharing a common experience, and even fighting a common enemy (Corona Virus) involves the human element. It allows us to see what we have in common in a world where focusing on differences has plagued us for all too long. We begin to relate to each other; we become more human.
The Workplace Organizations are facing forced reconstruction. Companies are being challenged and unplanned and unexpected ways. At this very moment, higher-ups and HR are working night and day to manage, plan, and execute. They are doing this all in the face of countless urgent and important interruptions. Meanwhile, employees are in a state of limbo, facing severe uncertainty and buckled by fear. Time will show new alliances between employees and management, not only as vital but eventually (and finally) as no-brainers. Employees will ultimately be the force that pulls businesses up and out of this chaotic maze. Many organizations who still don’t “get it” and continue their old “carrot and stick” ways, rather than focus on the daily experiences of their greatest assets, will crumble as the rest of the business world moves forward.
Work From Home. Retail Office Space. Performance. Engagement.
Many organizations will see how work from home can actually help their businesses in the long run. Human behavior and performance will validate what many studies already show about productivity and creativity when “getting out of the office”. Not to mention the greater work-life balance for employees. And then there’s the ability for employees to give more discretionary effort to the company, which used to be commuting time.
Some businesses will opt to spend less on retail office space. They will allow and even encourage more remote workspaces. This will forge the need for employee engagement systems of a new and powerful kind. Organizations will be forced to move away from simply checking a box on employee engagement initiatives. This will happen as they begin to realize that maximum human and organizational excellence requires effective engagement and an emotional attachment to the organization. Once more: Yes, I have thoughts on the numerous negative impacts. They are for perhaps another time. I don't pretend to fully understand the current crisis, nor the millions of different perspectives and personal experiences. Nobody can. We are forever changed. I'm offering a step back; a pause between what happens and our response.
March 18, 2020