Happy Labor Day! We made it this far…
We’ve made it through two-thirds of the year, to the holiday that marks the official end of summer fun and, usually, the time when kids go back to school. But 2020 isn’t like any other year. The pandemic has thrown our lives into a bit of controlled chaos, and we can add to that the presidential election and now violent protests.
So is this the worst year ever? Hardly. While COVID-19, the economic shutdown, and the riots are definitely difficult, they’re a far cry from war or famine, so the 1930s and 1940s, and of course the 1860s, still count as much worse. In fact, we don’t have to look too hard to find some good things that have come out of this year. Below are five developments that happened because of, not in spite of, our difficulties.
Everyone Can Zoom – Due to the lock down, everyone from four-year-olds to Grandma can successfully navigate video conferencing software that allows us to speak with several people at one time. People who never would have considered making their way up the learning curve are now regularly meeting up with friends, family, co-workers, and even their church groups online. This knowledge won’t go away when the pandemic fades, so we’ll be able to stay in touch digitally in the years to come.
Family Gained Renewed Importance – In many areas of the country people have quarantined, or at least partially quarantined, in their homes with their immediate family, and often limited their contact to just family members and a small group of friends. We took the measures to limit the spread of the virus, but in the process revived our relationships with those closest to us.
Rethinking Work – Wide swaths of the workforce have been signing in from home for six months…and it’s working! The terms tele-work and tele-commute have been around since the dawn of the internet, but we always thought that it was a secondary thing, something to be done every once in a while. The pandemic forced us to make distance working the primary method, and it’s been successful. While many people will go back to the office when this is over, there’s no question that the way we work, and the place we work, has changed. With a broader definition of how and where people complete tasks, more people can be involved in projects or considered for positions than before the pandemic.
Commutes Dwindle, Saving on Gas and Insurance – Part of re-thinking work is commuting from the kitchen to the home office. This leaves out the time and expense of getting from one location to another, which means saving money on gas, the miles put on the car, and the dollars spent on the train or bus, not to mention less dry cleaning and fewer work clothes! An unexpected benefit from all this is savings on insurance as we drive less and also in less crowded conditions, and fewer auto accidents.
Medical Research Grows Exponentially – The world is searching for a vaccine and therapeutic for COVID-19, which means billions of extra dollars and likely millions of extra man hours dedicated to medical research. The dramatic increase in focus on such research can’t help but lead to breakthroughs for other diseases and conditions. We’ve also created an expedited path for moving research from the lab to the doctor’s office, shaving years off the process.
So while you’re considering all the negative events of the year during your holiday weekend, spend at least a few minutes thinking about some of the good things that have happened, and consider sharing some of this with your family and friends… even if it is over Zoom.
Happy Labor Day