We’re about to find out how many meetings really could’ve just been emails.
I remember when I used to work more traditional jobs, primarily in social media management and marketing.
I’d pack up my work laptop in the morning, commute 45–60 minutes, open up the same laptop, work for the day on it, and go home.
Eat, sleep, repeat.
Sure, it’s nice sometimes to be in an environment with people that you (hopefully) like being around, collaborating, chatting, strategizing together. But it doesn’t take much effort to see jobs like this can be done from literally anywhere.
With companies of all sizes having people work from home due to Coronavirus shutdowns, more and more people are going to feel that first hand.
Think of lengthy and stressful commutes that waste valuable productivity time or cause tension in families and relationships due to being wound too tightly. What if that could be eliminated for a substantial amount of people?
But, it’s not just about work, it’s about how we approach each other as a society.
A globally shared experience like this could enhance the courtesy, patience, and understanding we have for each other. It can help us remember that we are all human and all in this together.
A pandemic does not discriminate. It neither spares nor targets anyone because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or political party.
It is frightening for this reason, but also an opportunity for unity. It is an opportunity for us to all act for the greater good. Self quarantining to stop the spread, in particular.
The difficulty lies in the uncertainty. How long will this last? Which businesses and jobs will survive? How many people will have their lives irreversibly altered?
Here’s the thing about humans: We are adaptation machines. We quite literally exist because of our ability to adjust to our surroundings. We can learn new marketable skills, we can work together and be innovative.
Not only that — we’ve got the internet.
We can connect, and sell, and build communities, share innovative ideas across the globe, make a living and an impact from our devices.
We can communicate and build relationships with people near and far. Now is the time we must begin to reshape society using these resources.
What could it possibly look like?
We can improve the environment. For one, China’s air cleanliness has skyrocketed since putting lockdowns in place. We can have a profound effect on humanity’s destruction of the environment by producing less emissions and wreaking less havoc on our surroundings.
We can be even more productive. Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price (the guy who cut his own salary by millions to guarantee a minimum wage of $70,000 to every employee) recently tweeted out that they’ve seen increased productivity with the entire staff working from home for the past 3 weeks.
We can re-purpose large spaces to be more efficient. I hate to say it, but many stores or even shopping malls are in a substantial amount of trouble right now. If some of these places end up closing their doors, those are enormous buildings that will be empty or abandoned.
Those spaces could be utilized to house the homeless, or at least provide temporary shelter. I’m sure people much smarter than me could come up with many alternative uses.
We can empower each other financially. There is an unprecedented opportunity to use technology to our advantage. Those out of work need to figure out new ways to provide value to the marketplace in order to make money. Developing new skills, selling their crafts or wares, counseling others in times of need, creating content…
By doing this, we can create a cyclical economic system where we utilize each others’ products and services which will further drive innovation and progress.
That artist who was working in the bank may become the next Picasso because they’re finally able to fully focus on their work. The part time musician is now sitting at home with nothing to do but make music. The teacher whose school closed down is tutoring students online. We can all step into our greatness.
We can be healthier. What happens when restaurants are closed and nightly takeout gets too expensive? We become more creative with cooking for ourselves and supporting local businesses who provide fresh foods to our communities.
We can become more compassionate. Often after a crisis has passed, the community affected comes together and treats each other a little differently. People nod and smile, we ask how each other are, we share a common thread of something we went through together.
Coronavirus, though, affects us as a species. Every individual on the planet is being touched by this in one way or another. Some small, some large. It is something that every living soul is acutely aware of and is facing their own challenges because of.
For this reason, it is a chance to press a gigantic reset button on the way we’ve been living our lives. Running around forgetting to appreciate the small things, chasing after material items while sacrificing human connection in the process, being careless about personal health or hygiene.
This is a wake up call we must heed.
We will mourn every death and comfort those who lose someone close to them. We will take this seriously and use every resource and brilliant mind to overcome it. We will prevail, and we can emerge an even better society because of it…if we choose to.