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The Great Pause – Corona Virus and Remote Working

Great Pause

With turmoil, death, and mass unemployment, it is hard to see the silver lining in this COVID-19 pandemic. Contrary to the panic and chaos mainstream media has set on repeat, there is something special happening that has never happened before in history. Unlike wars and pandemics of the past, the world economy has never been halted simultaneously with the ability to see the effect so clearly. We are connected instantly to everyone in the world through social media and communication technology. We all can see through this virtual window, the world continues to spin with or without us running about to grab our favorite latte or close that next deal. We see the skies cleared of smog and the wildlife return to the concrete landscapes we have created in our need to build efficiency in the economy. In a matter of weeks, it seems that our global impact begins to fade and nature returns to clean up our mess. It is humbling to watch the speed the human race can be forgotten and the world return to balance. It is this global insight that is so powerful and returns hope to humanity. This has the chance to inspire all of us to shift our desires, the way we work, and how we live our lives. 

Over the past decade, the world has been winding up with more innovation and stimulation. This great pause has given us a chance to reevaluate our lives as individuals and as communities. There has never been a time that the economy stopped and let us take a breath from the hustle and bustle of our lives. There is good in this if you look past the virus and the death. Take this unique chance to reflect on your life because I am sure you will not have another opportunity like this. Our self-image may be flawed in that we are the masters of this world, yet one endangered pangolin can change the fate of humanity forever. How did we get here and why is this pandemic so prolific and dangerous? Is it that this virus is the invisible killer we have no control over or are we to share some of this burden? Have we convinced ourselves that what big marketing panders to the masses is correct? Should we replace water with soda, enjoy the ease of processed fast foods, allow our foods to be genetically modified to look better on a shelf instead of nourishing your body, aspire to look perfect with the newest fad diet, or would it be better to eat and live healthy decreasing our venerability to this and new viruses in the future? I am not an activist by any means, but these contexts seem apparent when the noise of our busy life begins to quiet. Should we aspire to the corner office with the view or should we create our own workspace with the view in the place you desire? These are questions we all have the chance to ask ourselves. Take it because it is fleeting. We will soon we bombarded with news and propaganda to veil this global crisis and trying to restore what was normal to restart the economic engine, but do we want to have what was normal, or is this the opportunity to make a change? 

Our history books say the new world was discovered by Christopher Columbus. This was a new continent waiting to be defined. We have this chance again. The shift to a healthier work environment and lifestyles is not new, but this pandemic may be the catalyst to tip the movement. 80% of the S&P 500 companies are run by Baby Boomers who come from a more industrialized time in our economy where people had to fit in their boxes to make sure the machine ran properly. The machines of the past where massive, the circuits, processors, and gears were not computers components, but people. In this new world, we have engineered the machine to be compact and mobile reducing the need to sit in our place in the confines of the machine. Communications have advanced, eliminating the need for endless face to face meetings disrupting workflow and productivity. This great pause has forced many business owners to let go of antiquated practices and experiment with employees allowing people to work remotely. These uncharted waters are not only for the employer but the employee as well. Employees find out if they have the self-discipline to complete their jobs away from management. GenX and Millennial Digital nomads discovered this lifestyle choice years ago and a movement of travel and exploration began. Now more traditional jobs outside of the digital universe are awakening to this new concept as well. Employers are realizing that companies can increase profit by lowering overhead in utilities, office leases, liability insurances, and maintenance. This can increase in profit allows for increased wages attracting and retaining the best team members. Employees are working where they love not where they have to. They are finding a balanced healthy life with more time to enjoy healthier choices and to connect with loved ones. Less commuting, traffic, and meaningless banter at the water cooler increase productivity and wellbeing in the company. With maximizing profit and lowering overhead at the core of most businesses, remote working can achieve this with the right management transitions. Beyond this, it can also create more fluid working environments in which companies can select the best candidate for the position anywhere in the world exponentially broadening the labor pool. Businesses and their teams can grow healthier and happier than ever, which will be demanded in this new post-pandemic world until this becomes the new normal.

More people will be able to work from home or from some exotic location they have always wanted to experience. Urban environments will become less necessary as an economic focus and more of a choice to enjoy. Unique remote locations in the world that have the infrastructure to support remote working conditions will thrive as destinations for the new world escape artists.