From in-person interactions abruptly coming to a halt, to taking a hard look at our own well-being and mental health, we think we can speak for just about everyone when we say that COVID-19 has forever changed the way we see the world.
Fifteen days to “flatten the curve” soon turned into months, then a year, and here we are 18 months later and still not totally in the clear. Smiling faces of strangers on the street were quickly covered up by masks, and healthcare heroes battled to protect patients and save lives—though sadly many were still inevitably lost.
Businesses had to scramble to adapt to this “new normal,” a normal that feels frustrating and unfair. Overnight, client meetings that once began with handshakes were turned into video calls with virtual waves, and suddenly your favorite pair of jeans was replaced by a pair of sweatpants. Business on the top, casual on the bottom… we all know the drill.
Personal relationships were tested, rekindled, and everything in between, as we all tried to navigate living in a time where 4-hour happy hour Facetime calls were the new normal and hugs were forbidden—even when we needed them the most. Family holidays and traditions were skipped, and traveling was something we all could only dream of.
With a transition from enduring to re-emerging, comes the opportunity to do better and ultimately a new understanding of what we need to live our lives to their greatest potential. Life’s all about learning. It’s about growing and becoming the best versions of ourselves. It will forever throw us bumps in the road that will knock us down and twists and turns that will test how fast we are able to adjust course. If we can’t learn from our past, we’ll never be able to live in a better future. It’s that simple.
Trust and Support the Process of Science
Through this pandemic, science undoubtedly has been at the forefront of our minds, providing hope, direction and, eventually, a path forward. With a devastating and mysterious disease that has run rampant through the world, believing in the process of science was crucial in combating COVID-19. Although science provides resources, and information to make informed decisions, it takes time, patience, and trust to get there. Backing the process also requires us to individually remain vigilant by constantly assembling, testing, and challenging scientific information as we understand it, while vetting our perspective with a multitude of resources. We have to be able to trust consensus, while acknowledging that it is somewhat fluid as it changes with new information. Delivering life-saving and crucial information to the public should never be based on political beliefs and should instead be curated around evidence-based information. We must continue to defend, fund, and champion science in order to move forward and build our communities for the better.
Providing a Productive and Healthy Work Environment
Adapting to working remotely has provided us all with great challenges but has also opened our eyes to the ability to continue to create great work regardless of our office space. In the past, working remotely was viewed as a luxury, but the reality now is often the lines between work-life balance get blurred. We must respect not only each other’s time but our own when it comes to our working hours and workload. We need to focus on the tasks at hand but remember we’re humans with families and lives outside of a 9-5. It’s also important to remember that human interaction, including face-to-face meetings, can be the driving force when it comes to building relationships with our clients and coworkers. There’s no question that the where, and the way, we work has changed, and adapting will allow us to continue to do great work while providing the best of both worlds in a reasonable and fair manner.
Advocate For Others
Amid the global pandemic, another pandemic made up of injustice that has been around far longer than COVID-19 once again came to the forefront. Not only have the disparities and effects of COVID-19 throughout communities of color further highlighted racial inequities in our healthcare system, but we’ve also witnessed a rise in hate crimes specifically towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. In recent months, the fight for equality in our country and throughout the world has resulted in protests, civil unrest, legal trials, and convictions. Not only must we advocate for those whose voices have been silenced. We also must continue to listen, educate ourselves, and stand up for what is right in a country that’s been rooted in inequality and discrimination since its birth. It’s crucial that we come together and support those who need us most, and to provide any resources and tools available to amplify diversity and stand firm against hate. As we work to establish a new normal, let’s take this opportunity to make it a better and more equitable one.
We’re All Human
At the end of the day, we’re all human. We all eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. We laugh, we cry, we sometimes do both at the same time… yeah, it’s been a looooong year. If anything, we hope this trying period in history has allowed you to spend some time reflecting on yourself, your work, your past, your mental health, your future, and everything else that this crazy little thing called life is made up of. Remember to not only show compassion towards others but to be kind to yourself. Ask for help when you need it, and to lend a hand to others when they could use the support. We’re all doing the best we can, and in the end, that’s more than enough.