I’m about to say something counter-cultural. I am grateful for COVID-19. More specifically, I am grateful for the opportunity to emerge stronger from the coronavirus craziness. The facts about the disease do not warrant the hysteria, however there is a silver lining.
- Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.
- In my home county of Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, there were more fatalities due to alcohol-related vehicle accidents in 2018, than there are COVID-19 related deaths to date.
- Over 50% of the COVID-19 deaths (844) in PA were in Philadelphia county and the three bordering suburban counties in PA, Montgomery, Delaware and Bucks.
Now, I do not offer this small subset of data to dispute the seriousness of the pandemic. However, I do offer them as a matter of perspective. As a law-abiding citizen, I am willing to take prudent measures to mitigate the risk of transmission as I function day-in and day-out in society. To assume any less of me is insulting and juvenile. I take offense to Governor Wolf’s coercion of the good people of PA. He has bullied most of us into submission. Rather than trusting us to be mature, responsible adults, he has treated us like an overprotective parent of teenagers. I am as likely to be killed behind the steering wheel of my car than I am COVID-19, and I’ve taken that educated risk my whole life.
However, there’s a silver lining. There is an opportunity for people, families and businesses to emerge stronger from the coronavirus craziness. Companies and families will be healthier because they are organic teams that are intrinsically intertwined. The Industrial Revolution served to split them into two teams. But now, thanks to COVID-19, they will be more tightly integrated once again. We’ll be better able to make a living and make a family.
The walls between “the office” and “the home” have been shattered, thank God. For 25 years, I’ve long been bothered by the separation of work and home. It seemed like even white-collar companies were designed and run as factories where employees were just cogs to be used to make a profit. The daily grind forced us to spend more time with our colleagues than with our families. Now the 9 to 5 corona grind has forced us to find a way to be as productive working with our families occupying the same space. What a blessing!
After six weeks or so, my teammates are expressing they may actually be more productive working from home. Sure, they miss the camaraderie that existed in our business office setting and believe an ideal environment would offer the flexibility of having both a business and home office. In other words, they’re affirming what I’ve long said, “My office is wherever I am.” Since the Internet was commercialized in the 1990’s, I’ve professed those words.
So, with all due respect to the seriousness of the pandemic and despite my frustration with not being treated like a mature adult, I am so grateful for COVID-19. It has hastened the opportunity to redefine the meaning of work and home in a much healthier way. It has created more openness and awareness that professionals can be trusted to be productive no matter where they are. It gives everyone a better ability to meet our most innate need, the need to feel significant, which is not possible unless what we do contributes to the welfare of others. That includes our teammates, communities and families.
I am thankful for the 9 to 5 corona grind. I am grateful for it’s silver lining.