We are living in a pandemic that we have not ever experienced in our lifetime. And yet, there are opportunities to be learned from it. We are seeing short-term opportunities that can be translated into long-term solutions such as those related to air pollution that is choking our cities.
As leaders, as humans, it is time to take advantage of the opportunities that Covid-19 enables us, to now look beyond today and how we can focus on reshaping our work environment, our daily lives moving forward after this pandemic is over, to have a greater impact on reducing air pollution to save our planet, as well as, creating a more adaptive society.
Last week was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Out of this global pandemic, cities around the world have experienced cleaner air, giving way to views that have not been seen for decades. According to a recent nationwide study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, people with COVID-19 who live in U.S. regions with high levels of air pollution are more likely to die from the disease than people who live in less polluted areas. During this horrific pandemic, one thing is very clear, working remotely on a global scale is working. The byproduct is cleaner air, which is something from which we all can benefit. Covid-19 has given us a chance to change how we go about our daily life for leaders, both public and private, in our own lives, for all of us to step up and take responsibility.
A University of Chicago Becker Friedman Institute study showed that 37% of U.S. jobs can plausibly be performed at home. That says a lot about how the future make up of office workers can adapt accordingly. The remarkable outcomes to date suggest a strong ability of workers and CEOs to modify long-held practices and make productive changes to their work environment, including working remotely. Of course, there are jobs that require one to be “at work.” Those jobs have also gone through their own restructuring. For example: creating shift work where not everyone is “at work” at the same time, or plexiglass to keep a physical distance. The challenge will be to fight going back to “the norm” when this is all over and rethink “the new norm” of how work gets done for the better of the environment.
COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to look at our everyday lives differently to examine and change how we move through the world. As leaders, it is important to consider the global lessons learned during this extended economic shutdown. We all have had to go through a huge shift in our daily lives, not without pain and suffering. Covid-19 has given all of us an opportunity to see that we can do things differently than we have in the past.
I know that none of this is easy. It requires all of us to shift how we live our daily lives and how we view our work. We can learn from this, no matter the crisis, to adapt and change. An easy first step for me is cutting down on the number of trips to the grocery store every week. I am going to give it my best shot to rethink how I live and work. Hope you do too.
Please share in the comments one thing you are ready to do differently.
If you would like help figuring out how to re-think your daily life, work, department, or company, please reach out!