Human Adaptability

Commuting to work on the train is now a distant memory as the rate of transmission of COVID-19 is multiple times that of the common flu. Governments in the US, Canada, Europe, India and many other countries have imposed social distancing, shelter in place and self-quarantine orders. Globally today, there are more than 380,000 reported confirmed infections and over 16,000 deaths. More than 194 countries or territories around the world have reported cases, with over 75 countries having in excess of 100 reported cases (McKinsey 2020). This is definitely a pandemic and not something to be taken lightly.

Our works lives have changed. Organizations who might have shied away from allowing their employees to work from home one day a week now have no choice but to embrace a 100% telecommuting arrangements. Virtual lunches, online coffee talks and happy hours are very quickly becoming the norm. Day-care centers have since shut their doors. Schools are closed and students are required to adjust to online instruction. ACT/SAT tests have been cancelled and advanced placement tests currently scheduled for May will more than likely be administered virtually.

Personally, the ability to give and receive a friendly hug or a physical high-five for a job well done is sorely missed. My early morning huddles with my colleagues to check-in and evaluate how things are going have all gone virtual. On a much dire note, nearly one-in-four U.S. workers – 38.1 million out of 157.5 million – are employed in the industries most likely to feel an immediate impact from the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Among the most vulnerable are workers in retail trade (10% of all workers) and food services and drinking places (6%). In total, these two industries employ nearly 26 million Americans (Pew Research 2020).

Weekly Saturday shopping is a brand new experience. Long lines at big-box retailers and at grocery stores, bold signs that say in all caps, "No Paper Products" and empty shelves have become a part of the way we may have to live for a while. Toilet paper is definitely now the new bacon. Through it all, I have learnt that we humans are extremely adaptable. The speed at which the many of us adjusted to working from home every day is nothing short of remarkable. We are doing the best we can with the situation in which we have found ourselves. Some of us are using this time to ramp up on personal growth and development; sharpening our skills and keeping our minds fed aright. Many who are overworked and have had no work-life balance are forced to spend quality time with the ones they love. And even if things look dark right now, we can remember that great things grow out of dark and difficult moments. Stay safe. Remain strong and most of all, never stand still; keep growing.

No comments:

Post a Comment