If there is anything that the pandemic has taught us, it is the ability to distinguish the things that matter from those that do not. The quarantines, isolation and repeated lockdowns of the last two years enabled us to choose our battles and outsource those we did not need to fight ourselves.
We are now at Alert Level 1 and people are out, businesses have reopened and it’s generally a happy time for everyone. Notwithstanding the constant reminders to keep your distance, ensure that you have had booster shots and many other health interventions, the last two years ingrained some habits that may be worth keeping:
Incorporating habits to support health and well-being. Like it or not, the pandemic taught us to invest in our health to make sure we maintained strong immune systems to combat the virus. Supplementation was introduced as a sustainable intervention to avoid getting infected. More importantly, balancing nutrition with nourishing food, maintaining an exercise or workout regimen and getting at least eight hours of sleep daily are great habits worth keeping in this better normal. We also got to know more about mental health issues and we learned that self-care always takes priority.
Being technologically adept. Let’s face it, modern-day advancements in life have penetrated almost all day-to-day activities. So many of the things we thought could only be done face to face can now be easily conducted using a smartphone. Shopping in general has shifted online for practical reasons. Personal shoppers come in handy on Viber for those who want a more personalized experience. Buying medicines online saves you the hassle of queuing in an otherwise crowded drug store. Many of the tactical activities we do every day can be done or managed remotely, allowing us to preserve our energy for activities that truly matter such as cultivating and nurturing relationships with loved ones. After all, it’s been two years of doing Zoom catch-up sessions.
Our jobs have benefited greatly from technology as well. New tools and applications born during the pandemic have transformed the way we look at productivity and as results-driven employees and businessmen.
Being flexible. As businesses sought their operating sweet spots during the pandemic, flexibility became the savior in so many ways. It also required all of us to be patient as we tested new methodologies in conducting business online, meeting virtually and many other things. In the F&B space, food kits were created for pick-up to somehow (re)create the dining experience at home. In the travel sector, some airlines utilized aircraft for in-dining experiences. We, of course, also know how most BPO (business process outsourcing) employees started working from home and continue to deliver results.
What does this tell us as employees or business owners? There are obviously learnings that we now carry and some of these add value to day-to-day activities. We have learned to identify activities that we need to be personally involved in while at the same time we have alternatives or options to use when physical presence is not needed. If anything, the pandemic taught us how to prioritize what is important.
One important gain here is the ability to be flexible and adaptable. Business owners may now have a different view of what a productive employee is these days — the definition has truly transformed over the last two years. Productivity measurements and how organizations tend to be more results-driven are some of the things that have come about because of the pandemic. If Covid-19 did not happen, we would probably be still giving weight to time-clocked coming in and out of the office, something that may now sound trivial.
Things invariably change and the past two years have shown us just that. To survive and thrive, some of our new habits are worth keeping.
Kay Calpo Lugtu is the chief operating officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include food innovation, nation-building and sustainability. The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.