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A Cup o’ Joe: Silver Linings

We are now 18 months and counting into our world being turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic. As I reflect on what has transpired between then and now it occurred to me that there are certain things that I now believe to be true in the professional workplace that I might not have been so convinced of in early 2020.

Here are my top five:

  1. People are resilient and flexible – If you would have told me that with little warning all of society would completely suspend normal activities and routines within less than 48 hours and then shortly thereafter reimagine how to get work and education done remotely, I would have said it was impossible. And while there were and still are some bumps in the road, people’s collective ability to adapt under pressure is probably the biggest surprise for me of this situation.
  2. Remote work works – From all levels of my team, I felt a great deal of commitment to the job without the necessity of in-person supervision. Based on my own experience, I attribute that to people feeling gratitude for having an opportunity to contribute to their co-workers, customers, and employer when so many hardworking people simply couldn’t do so when other businesses shut down. At Radiology Partners, it also allowed us to attract talent from all over the country as we continued to grow. I believe the virtual workforce is here to stay.
  3. Videoconferencing beats teleconferencing – I’ve always felt that videoconferencing had great promise, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I understood its full potential for maintaining connection across distance; not only at work, but for families who could not otherwise be together. For someone like me who had a traditional Los Angeles commute and is far away from many of my relatives, videoconferencing allowed me to be virtually present with people in a way the telephone can’t match.
  4. Dedicated work spaces matter – The best quote I heard on the blurring of lines between home and work during the pandemic was “We’re not as much working from home as we are living at work.” One way to combat that feeling is to literally subdivide the space and honor those boundaries so that work doesn’t happen wherever you (and your phone) happen to be.
  5. Schools are fundamental to society – We found out quickly how important schools were – both for our children and for the parents! Students returning to school this fall has been one of the most important factors in lowering stress levels for people who were suddenly trying to be a teacher, parent and work teammate all at the same time. I’m so grateful to our teachers and administrators for making that happen.

Although none of us would have chosen this, it’s widely acknowledged that for many, the pandemic has improved certain aspects of our lives, from increased family togetherness to a re-calibration of priorities. For me it has also opened my eyes to some improvements in the professional workplace as well – ones that I will keep with me even as things return to “normal.”