As this pandemic ambles onward, one wonders how we will emerge from it changed. What modifications to our normal way of doing things and other precautions that have been implemented as protections from the COVID virus will linger for a while and which of them will become more permanent?
One trend that was already beginning prior to the pandemic but has increased during this period is the move toward working from home and/or remotely. There are of course a lot of factors that influence this, and they are often specific to the individual employee and his/her employment. How much of the daily interfaces benefit from a face-to-face empathy that may be more difficult via computer screens? Do distractions at home compete with the need to focus or is there even less distraction away from the office? Is the need to “get out of the house” a bit of the personal satisfaction of going to work? Certainly, the reduced commuter travel is beneficial to the environment and a reduction the individual’s travel expenses.
A similar trend that took hold due to precautions against contact with others is the usage of remote conferences and meetings. Zoom and other applications that allow for group interchange have become commonplace. Many of us have become familiar with this approach as we have participated in committees and even family gatherings. At our house, we got to watch grandchildren open Christmas presents using this technology. Again, when the personal interaction is a priority this will be gladly abandoned in the future but where coordination, reduction in travel expense or the time expended during the gathering are a goal, it may be here to stay.
There’s more to this in the current issue of the Times Virginian newspaper. Support local journalism by purchasing the issue at a local newsstand or subscribing at www.timesvirginian.com/subscriber_services to receive the print edition or view the full article in the e-edition version.