I recently came across a blog post I wrote 13 months ago – 35 days after Covid was declared a global pandemic and 34 days after the NBA cancelled their entire season. That’s when I first realized how serious this was. Reading my words from April 15, 2020 brought back a flood of emotions — the incredulity (Is this seriously happening?), the panic (How will we pay our bills if we lose our jobs?), the worry (What if someone I love gets it?) and the daily concerns (Where can I find toilet paper?)
“They’re predicting that some level of staying at home and social distancing will need to continue until a vaccine is found and administered to pretty much everybody. If it really takes 18 months, we’re looking at a return to true normalcy sometime mid-2021, which is just mind-blowing,” I wrote.
So much has changed in those 13 months.
- Remote Rules – At The Studio, we’re now a completely remote workforce, which I have to say is really cool. I certainly miss seeing my coworkers in person, and it’s not quite the same over video chat. But when I read through that old blog about the stresses in my life, so much of that has gone away now that I’m working from home.
- Video Chat – Who knew video chatting would go from being an occasional annoyance to a vital connection with the outside world? The Studio uses Microsoft Teams to video chat with coworkers, which has helped our 350+ employees across the country stay connected and collaborate. Sunday Zoom calls with the fam has become a cherished opportunity to see the faces of the people I miss most. And I’ve grown to love video chatting with my doctor instead of spending half the day in a waiting room reading a two-year-old issue of People.
- Amazon Rules (Even More) – I was quarantined for November through January because of a medical issue and could not leave my house. At all. So, I relied on Amazon and other online shopping options for 100% of my Christmas presents – stocking stuffers, wrapping paper, ornaments, you name it. I’ve been a Prime member for years, but my reliance on it today has been taken to a new level. All I can say is, thank goodness for Amazon!
- Curbside Service – Has anyone else become completely reliant on this? It’s so much easier ordering on your phone and having them just run it out to you when you arrive, plus I usually spend a lot less because I’m not tempted to buy things I don’t need. Whether it’s groceries from Target, meds from WalMart or burrito bowls from Tijuana Flats, this is one new trend that I hope never goes away.
- Masks – I recall a coworker predicting that medical face masks would become a fashion statement, and I thought he was crazy. Fast forward 13 months, I now have a facemask to go with nearly every outfit and mood. I’m fine wearing them, because I want to keep everyone safe and do my part to help prevent the spread, but I will definitely not miss them. When it’s all over, I think I’ll just wash and tuck them away in the back of my sock drawer. Might come in handy next flu season.
- Virtual Everything – When things first shut down last spring, so much was cancelled, from meetings to conferences, special events and concerts. I’m still waiting to use my Kenny Chesney tickets from last May, which has been postponed again until May 2022. But it seemed like with lightning speed, we all became adept at hosting and attending virtual meetings. From Coldwell Banker’s Gen Blue conference to Adobe Max, Adobe Summit, ANA awards shows and Realogy town halls, everything is now virtual, which has actually left me feeling more connected than with my company than when I was in the office.
Do I miss being back in the world? Yes, definitely.
Do I miss all the stress that came along with it? Absolutely not.
I hope we can take a page from Hannah Montana when this is all over, and get the best of both worlds.