What We Learned During COVID

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We are into the 11th month of quarantines, lockdowns, Zoom calls, WFH, homeschooling and cabin fever. Sadly, things will likely get worse before they get better, BUT the vaccine light is at the end of this long dark COVID tunnel. Like you, we’re trying to cope as best as we can and learn from every experience. To quote British humorist Terry Pratchett, “Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.” So, what have we learned from this annus horribilis?

  • On one hand, working from home works! Plain and simple. The notion that everyone needs to get up in the morning, slog for an hour in jammed public transportation, ride in packed elevators to sit in cubicles surrounded by hundreds of other people, no longer needs to be the standard. For many, working from home will continue to be the norm post vaccine. But, on the other hand…
  • We have learned how much we miss human interaction. Chatting at the copier, a lunch with an old friend, drinks with the team, dinner with a client who is becoming a friend. We miss all these interactions. Even business trips are missed—though we do not miss O’Hare or DFW!
  • On one hand, people have shown themselves to be reliable and, to a great extent, get the job done even if there are interruptions with kids or the workspace needing to be shared with a partner, etc. We should give ourselves a pat on the back for being flexible and dedicated and for showing tolerance when we need to.
  • In our opinion, some organizations have used the pandemic as the excuse to justify job eliminations way over what would be reasonable and fair. This has caused a material amount of financial and social misery.
  • We have learned how important our network remains, notwithstanding most of our interactions are virtual. We have worked hard to stay in touch, reaching out to say hi or to make sure people are coping. The virtual world has its limits. Kudos to the hard-working folks organizing virtual conferences, but the reality is that those experiences often leave us wanting more. We want to meet the speakers after a session and network and connect in person.
  • On one hand, not having to commute has changed the work-life balance equation and has allowed/forced family togetherness. Hopefully, some of the positive outcomes will carry through after we get to the post vaccine “normal”. But on the other hand,
  • This pandemic is hurting us. A CDC study of American adults in June showed over 40% of adults struggling with some form of mental or substance abuse related challenges. This has likely gotten worse since June and may worsen yet as we struggle through the winter.
  • Resilience has become the word of the day/the year/the pandemic. We thought we were already resilient. But we’ve learned the real meaning of the word and we’ve shown up despite not wanting to; we’ve done our best coping with family 24x7; we’ve been there to help others and to help ourselves. We now understand resilience.
  • Acceleration is the word that says it all…. everything’s been accelerated over the last year. The pandemic has accelerated everything from technological advances to medical breakthroughs (think the vaccine) to business success or failure. Everything moved quickly this year, though it seems like the longest year of our lives.

Overall, we too have struggled, but we have learned a lot. Most of all, being kind to everyone including ourselves/yourselves. Take a moment today to reflect on how you’ve persevered, strengthened your resilience, been there for others. Take comfort in knowing that the vaccine is here and there’s hope around the corner. Acknowledge that this is hard, and we all need a break.

Hug yourself today and have a wonderful new year! You earned it!

By: Nicole Meyer and Craig Weeks

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