The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each and every one of us. It is not a condition of the poor or the rich, or of any particular group of people; rather, it is one of those rare historical events which touches every single life. Over the past several months, it has been easy to watch businesses close, to lose touch with our friends and loved ones, and feel as though life as we know it has come to a halt.
However, this is not the case. Humans are inherently social animals. In order to form a connection with someone, we want to shake their hand, look into their eyes, hear the cadence of their voice. There is nothing more personal than sharing the same physical space as someone; when you share the same surroundings, you are unified in your experience of the world. This is the challenge that online presentations must overcome.
As we navigate our way through the pandemic, simulating this closeness is more attainable than it’s ever been before. Rather than sharing a common physical space, we can share a common virtual space, which allows us to hear one another speak, read each other’s facial expressions, and create engagement. In this way, we can return to a semblance of normal life. In spite of the panic incited by this pandemic, we hold on to what is truly important.
Our children need their education to become responsible adults and citizens in the future, and this education can’t be replaced by a packet sent home from school. Students need the mentorship of their teachers, who are tirelessly working to get them the help they need on an individual basis. And despite the difficulties of distance learning, students continue to learn and make connections. It is also important that we keep our office environments intact.
One of the greatest difficulties of working from afar in the pandemic is the separation of work life and home life. It is difficult to be our most productive selves when we’re in an environment which we normally use to relax. Add to this the combined stress of sharing this space with spouses and children who are also working and learning from home and it is easy to become discouraged.
However, it is possible to create balance in your life even when working from home. One option is to find a space in your house, even if you don’t have a home office, which you can claim as yours. Another method is to give yourself breaks just as you would at work. When the work day is done, it’s time to focus on your family and loved ones. More than anything, this pandemic has shown that in the face of a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, humans are able to adapt in order to maintain their way of life. We are able to overcome the physical distance between us to forge new connections and to continue to innovate. Like many adversities, once COVID-19 is in the past, we’ll find ourselves stronger for it.