The New Working Normal

By |Published On: April 28, 2020|

Most of the country (and really the world) have been self-quarantining at home for six weeks or more. We’ve dealt with figuring out how to work and school from home. We’ve struggled with spending 24/7 under the same roof with our family members – and even though we love them unconditionally – we know why our children must leave home after high school. We’ve learned how to shop for everything online and put in place decontaminating procedures for all our packages, groceries, and really anything that enters our house.

One of the results of this pandemic and our desire to contain it has been a stagnation of the once robust economy. Businesses – large, medium and small are struggling to survive. It’s no wonder that so many of us now are turning our attention to “restarting the economy”.

But what does that mean and do we have to return to our previous physical work locations and same old work ways to restart the economy? To understand the answers to these questions, we must understand how we got here in the first place. Can a virus, even if creating a pandemic really stop the global economy?

Clearly many businesses have continued throughout the pandemic slowdown. We applaud those workers – first responders, healthcare workers, essential construction workers and more – who have continued to show up for work to help those less fortunate and keep some of the economy going.

Many of us are tired and frustrated with being at home and want to do our part to restart things. Several state leaders have recently decided to “open” their states to help restart their economies. Still others aren’t sure their states are ready.

The bottom line is this: Most people don’t have to go back to their offices and businesses to restart the workforce and economy. Everyone needs to make their own informed decisions about their ability to return to the workforce safely and/or if a return to the workplace they occupied six weeks ago is required.

I don’t know about you but I’ve been able to do everything I need to do for my job while working from my home office. I’ve met with all the people I need to meet with (and many I didn’t need to meet with). I’ve performed all the tasks my job requires. My co-workers have all done the same. Many of our clients are in the same positions. Most have been able to handle their jobs either from home offices or as essential workers implementing new, health and safety procedures in their more traditional work setting. Many are struggling, not because they can’t do their jobs but because their markets have been impacted by the economic downturn.

So why does our economy need restarting and what can we do to make sure it happens successfully?

We are afraid of things we don’t understand. This virus (COVID-19) created more sustained fear than anything in my lifetime. That fear has caused a ripple effect that has impacted the global economy negatively.

People are afraid of how the virus might impact them, their family or people they know. People are afraid of how they might be exposed to the virus – from other people, from door handles, containers, their pets, and more. This fear causes people to make decisions that impacted the economy in negative ways.

Restarting the economy won’t be easy. There isn’t any one way it can be done successfully. However, until we overcome our fears about the virus and its impact on us, our economy will not restart successfully.

We need our leaders – governmental, business, faith, athletic and others to instill confidence in us to help us overcome our fears about the pandemic, the economy and our recovery. This is a time for true leadership – not the fear-mongering kind – promulgated by people who think that is the best way to win elections or propped up by media who think that is the best way to secure viewers.

We need the kind of leaders like Ronald Reagan during the early 80’s helping overcome fear of oil and gas shortages and high inflation; or George W. Bush who helped our country overcome the fear of terrorism; Michael Jordan who helped the people of Chicago overcome the fear of never winning a NBA Championship. (Tongue in cheek with that last one) but if you’ve been watching The Last Dance, the story of the 1997/1998 Chicago Bulls quest for a sixth championship in eight years, you will see that Michael helped his team overcome fears and that lead to their eventual success.

So, if you want to help restart the economy, do what you can to overcome your fears and help others around you overcome theirs.

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