This is where we are. Instead of fighting it, maybe we should focus our energies on coping with it and learning how to make the best of it.
A lot of people around the globe are tired of the novel Coronavirus. It no longer feels novel. The restrictions on movement, commerce, and entertainment have been onerous. Whatever your thoughts about the danger of COVID-19, some facts are irrefutable.
How work is done has changed. Many of these changes may be with us many years into the future: teleconferencing, working from home, office design and protocol. Work from home for knowledge-based industries is a great way to attract and retain skilled workers. There are potential pitfalls. Sometimes we rue what we asked for when that arrives. Will the employer be required to pick up the tab of increased utilities, resources like phones, computers, and paper for employees working from home?
Job compensation will be affected. Businesses have spent and will be required to spend even more in accommodating a new paradigm. Pay cuts, deferred or abolished bonuses, and the disappearance of perks like sick leave, family leave, and vacation allowances are likely.
Contract and freelance work may be on the rise as companies look to streamline. Again, that type of work makes budgeting for retirement and leave very difficult.
Delayed retirement will affect many employees whose incomes and pension plans have been disrupted.
Masks will become de riguer. Citizens in Asia are quite familiar with wearing masks. We may have laughed at them or presumed such attire was necessary to survive in their highly polluted environment, but given that scientists warn that future pandemics are a when, not an if, we need to get on board. Masks will become a fashion accessory like scarfs and ties. I anticipate mask tattoos for the fun loving and the rebellious.
Hugs and handshakes are out. I lament this, as for generations, a handshake has been an early personality assessment, not that different from the typical dog nose to butt greeting.
Eye-makeup and enhancements will be emphasized as lips are less visible. Why not integrate fashionable eyeglasses with interchangeable masks that clip together seamlessly?
Plastics will proliferate. Just when we were gaining ground on eliminating this awful product from our lives, plastics will take over again, adding to environmental misery and animal entrapment.
Reusable beverage containers will take a hit. Drive-through coffee shops are already turning away personal mugs and insisting on handing out paper/plastic cups. Trash, trash, and more trash.
Design of public spaces will shift. As we’ve had to adjust to having handbags and backpacks searched before entering a venue, we will now be subjected to body temperature monitoring. While public seating has already increased in width to keep pace with America’s expanding bottoms, now seating will also need to incorporate more space between individual seats. Look for a commensurate increase in price for public forms of transportation and auditorium entertainment.
Change is inevitable. Brian Calvert, in the May 2020 High Country News, observes that” failure of imagination has stymied America’s response to the pandemic.” He blames leaders blinded by a false sense of security, and a privileged population that assumed money could buy safety. “The world has changed in the past few months, but climate chaos still looms, and this pandemic is but a prologue. Can we imagine a different, but better future?