Business Insider shares that social distancing influences silver linings like “an uptick in savings, cleaner air, and cheaper cars and homes.” What silver linings have you found during the pandemic?
Time almost feels slower during the pandemic. There is no longer a need to be part of the chaos that is the rush hour traffic commute, trip across town in the middle of the day, or spending hours preparing to host live events. Instead, there seems to be more time to wake up over a cup of coffee, check in with others, and unwind from a productive day.
“I have a sharper focus on what really matters most in life, both personally and professionally. Specifically, I’m more conscious of the preciousness of life, the matchless significance of spending time with the people I love, and the importance of working hard to make a constructive difference in the world.Craig Weber, 2020
This heightened awareness has increased (but not eradicated) my ability to ignore all the frustrating but ultimately insignificant nonsense that I often let distract me from what matters. The key will be to maintain this focus after the crisis has passed.”
Time and time again I hear people singing praise to video call tools like Zoom and Google Meet for the convenience of instant communication while being at home. I like that I have more control over my schedule since switching to working from home full-time. By significantly reducing the time spent on preparing to interact with others in person, there’s more energy available to meaningfully connect with people, contribute to my work, and take care of myself and my family.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees are more productive when working from home. The distractions of small talk, meaningless meetings (the kind that can be replaced with an email), and trying not to think about the smell of your coworker’s reheated leftovers, add up to a surprisingly large amount of time spent not getting meaningful work done.
Working Remotely Can Increase Communication, Collaboration, and Innovation
Teams that have shifted from working in the office to working remotely influence organizations to upgrade their work systems into the 21st century. Email replacement tools like Slack are becoming popular for easily communicating with coworkers. Discord is similar to Slack but also has audio and video chat capabilities. Signal, one of my personal favorite communication tools, is a nonprofit-lead, secure text messaging app. It’s especially useful to securely share passwords for free!
Technologies can be incredibly powerful productivity tools. Collaborative, cloud-based tools like G Suite make it possible for teams to work together closely while physically apart. However, there is a tremendous need for educational support for the workforce. The silver lining here is the opportunity to develop professionals across all industries.
When it comes to integrating new technologies while employees are remote, SHRM suggests creating or modifying existing training programs to address multiple learning styles. This may mean offering longer, more frequent, and personalized sessions that allow employees to more fully grasp the technology. SHRM also encourages all employees to participate in training and development opportunities.
Using Grant Funding to Power Technology Training for Employees
Recently, I secured grant funding from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) CanDo Community Telework Program for Via Mobility Services (Via) to partner with Boulder Transportation Connections (BTC) and provide organization-wide G Suite training. Like many other nonprofits, Via’s workforce includes some inexperienced teleworkers who may have lower comfort levels with using new technologies to work from home. Employees like these may require additional attention and time dedicated to individualized training – but we’re making our way to becoming experts at working from home!
Financial and Social “Green” Benefits to Teleworking
Plus, I’m reaping the green rewards of telecommuting, like saving money on gas and vehicle maintenance, as well as emitting fewer polluting greenhouse gases into the air. You can track your commuting stats, too, on MyWayToGo.org.
What silver linings have you found? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!