Covid-19 has forever changed our work, our social interactions, and even how we view ourselves. We’ve come to understand our own limits better, even as we’ve learned the importance of self-care. That doesn’t mean, however, we’ve enjoyed the experience.
Let’s be honest: Plenty of those changes we’ll be happy to discard once it’s safe to do so. Which of them, however, should we consider keeping for the long haul?
While you’re likely sick of social distancing, there are a few changes beyond more frequent handwashing that you should keep long after the pandemic has ended:
1. Setting Your Own Schedule
Covid-19 turned our world upside down and turned our days into a grey fog of sameness. We learned, intentionally or not, how to clear the haze by controlling our schedule.
We need our work time, our quiet time, and our family time. As Calendar suggests, we thrive on routine, and losing it can leave us feeling lost and disoriented.
Make a point, if you don’t already, to separate your work and play spaces. Set clear work and “office” hours. When it’s time to put one down, take the other up with a vengeance.
To be clear, you don’t need to have every minute of the day rigidly scheduled out. But if there’s one thing you should hold on to once the pandemic is over, it’s the importance of making time for all aspects of your life.
2. Embracing Mental and Emotional Care
You’ve likely heard the phrase “collective trauma” more than once over the past year. You may have even experienced its symptoms: chiefly irritability, frustration, and depression.
For many of us, this has required making a conscious effort to cope. It’s meant figuring out what keeps us sane in a world that has, too often, seemed like it’s gone mad.
Maybe you need to schedule in gym time, some counseling sessions, or even a Covid-safe spa day. Or, to the point above, it might just entail making sure you have uninterrupted family time on your calendar.
Do what you need to take care of yourself. Make your mental and emotional health your top priority this year.
3. Taking Being Sick Seriously
Too often, we treat common colds as annoyances we have to push aside and power through. It’s understandable: colds aren’t, generally speaking, serious illnesses. Covid-19 reminded us that some infections, however, are.
According to LinkedIn, workers took an average of just 2.5 sick days in 2018. Sick employees aren’t only less productive, but they risk infecting others and affecting their productivity.
The bottom line is, overextending yourself when you’re sick doesn’t help anyone. Focusing on what’s important and taking the time to recover, on the other hand, helps everyone.
That might involve staying in when you want to go out with friends. It might mean rescheduling a meeting or moving an in-person appointment to a virtual one. Realize that your being ill affects others. So stay home and focus on recovery.
This change should catch no one by surprise. Over the past year, “telecommute” has become almost as familiar a word as “pandemic.”
To be sure, not every job or industry is suited for at-home work. Not everyone will have the option to work remotely once Covid-19 has passed.
For those who can telecommute, however, the arrangement can be a godsend. Remote workers are as productive as, if not more productive than, their in-office team members. Leaders can leverage the perk to expand their talent pool and to save on office costs.
Make no mistake: offices, gyms, and schools will reopen once the pandemic is over. But at the same time, telecommuting is here to stay.
Although it can be difficult to see silver linings in something like a pandemic, Covid-19 has its share. The challenge, of course, is seizing them at the same time you steer your life back to “normal.” Fortunately, you have the entire world as company.