Life hasn’t been what we could call “normal” these past 18 months, has it? We could start a pandemic-specific glossary with all the terms that have now become a part of our vernacular, such as, “social distancing”, “herd immunity”, and “community spread” to name just a few.
Uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and unpredictability are what the world has been living with daily since the onset of COVID-19. Being bombarded with endless statistics, protocols, and health updates, is enough to leave any of us feeling anxious and, quite frankly, overwhelmed.
The good news, and yes there is some, is that COVID-19 cases are projected to diminish substantially by March 2022. So, can we imagine what life will be like once we get the upper hand on this pandemic? Yes, we can.
Sanitary Measures Will Stay
One of the protocols that has become part of our collective daily routines is amplified sanitation. While there has been some chatter of the ill effects of excessive sanitization, there is no doubt that the fact that we have upped our sanitizing game has resulted in reducing community spread and has kept many of us from contracting COVID-19. While we have been able to relax a bit on meticulously disinfecting every grocery item we bring into our homes, more regular hand washing is sure to remain a vital part of our sanitizing routine.
Even if we diminish this somewhat post-pandemic, the fact that we have all become more sensitized to the importance of proper hygiene spells a win-win for our collective good.
Greetings Pre- and Post-COVID
When we think of greetings in the Western business world, we generally think of that staple of face-to-face business meetings, the handshake.
Although scholars are not certain when this gesture began, some accounts date back to the 9th century BC when a depiction of Assyrian King Shalmaneser III shaking hands with a Babylonian ruler, was committed to stone.
Whether the handshake is used in a business or personal context, it is firmly associated with sealing deals and solidifying cordial encounters. Its common use will certainly come back, in time, and people will once again be more open to shaking hands if they feel that people’s hands are, for the most part, sanitized.
Having said that, there is no doubt that other forms of greeting that have become common practice during this pandemic, will surely stick around too. Think of the elbow bump or fist pump. Although you may not see yourself fist-pumping the Queen, doing so with a potential client or business contact could remain commonplace.
A sure sign that we will be back to pre-COVID life, will undoubtedly be when we will feel at ease in larger gathering contexts such as concerts and other heavily-populated events. We may choose more carefully the types of events we attend, at least, at the beginning of our return to normalcy. Event promoters have done a good job of implementing distancing and sanitary protocols so that event-goers can feel safe attending live events again. While distancing measures may relax post-Covid, as mentioned previously, sanitary measures will most certainly remain, which will allow for concert-goers and the like to attend their favorite shows without the added stress we have currently had to deal with. Some of us may also be more selective in choosing which events or outings to attend, opting for quality experiences over the quantity of those experiences.
Redefining Work/Life Balance
During this pandemic, many people found themselves in a mish-mash of different workplace scenarios. Some faced job cuts and losses, some had to change careers and many resorted to working from home. While each of these new realities come with their share of anxiety, questioning, and repositioning, the work-at-home business model will most definitely remain. According to the Harvard Business Review, “working at home is likely to permanently increase post-Covid”.
While some parents have found coping with the daily tasks of simultaneously raising kids and navigating through work obligations taxing, others have discovered a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the extra time they have gotten to spend with family instead of the many pre-Covid traffic jams they often found themselves in at the onset and endings of each workday.
While the working-from-home model isn’t possible in all circumstances and all career paths, the part-time or full-time work-at-home model could fit the lifestyles of many entrepreneurs, online teachers, and a multitude of other professionals. This new reality could have the added benefit of reducing anxiety and improving our overall quality of life.
So, while it is clear that we are not out of the proverbial woods just yet, we can be hopeful that we will get back to some semblance of normalcy in the near future. When that happens, we will feel less anxious knowing that we are equipped with the tools to understand our communal world a little better, the knowledge to do better whether at work or with those we love, and the motivation to lead more intention-driven lives.