The Coronavirus Experience Will Change How We Work

As we all navigate this unprecedented global pandemic, I can’t help but feel hope for the exciting new things we will see when we come out of the chaos. Besides the required “downtime” and reprieve of our normal routines that allow us more time with our families, we will have even longer-lasting changes on all fronts. It’s like we’re being pushed off a cliff into digital and transformational change. It’s a little scary to look down at what is below. But what if that ocean water is warm and holds beautiful things we’ve never seen before? Here are a few thoughts about what’s over the edge of that cliff:

New business opportunities and income streams

  • Typical businesses that rely on gatherings (social painting classes, for example) are flipping their model. Just order a kit from Amazon and login for an interactive class with other painters in their homes! I suspect these businesses thought about this option, but without a push, may have taken longer to launch.
  • Restaurants are selling food in their coolers from local farmers as “grocery packs”. The most creative angle? They include 2 rolls of toilet paper. This serves up and down the supply chain in a creative and valuable fashion. And those 2 rolls of toilet paper? Well, that creates a special demand for those grocery packs.

New ways of learning

  • Although many parents (me included) are terrified of the thought that their children will be diving into home-based online learning while we juggle our work responsibilities and quest for paper products all at the same time. But this push into the digital age for our education system was going to happen at some point. Leave it to an unplanned global virus to help us figure it out. Will it be bumpy? Yes. Will we learn from it? Absolutely. Will we have new capabilities to leverage, and possibilities for delivering even better learning opportunities to generations in the future. I hope so.

Throwing out the old rules

  • From exempting state standardized tests to the uncertainties of college admissions for fall 2020 and 2021, the rules will change. My high school junior is in a predicament. ACTs and SATs are canceled with few (or no) options to take them prior to early college application dates. This may limit college choices for some students. We’re hoping for his sake that rules will bend and change. And if they do, will they ever go back?

This change is going to be exciting. Are you ready for it? I’d love to hear other observations you have. Are your change management practices agile enough to lead through this new frontier?

Cheryl Farley