The pandemic isn’t over, but it feels like it for much of our everyday lives. We only have to look at the daily numbers to realize our fellow Minnesotans are still testing positive for COVID-19, getting hospitalized and dying. However, the numbers are down dramatically and with over 70% of Ramsey County residents now vaccinated we have reason to believe the numbers aren’t going to trend upward again.
The mask mandate is over, though some locations are still requiring them. Capacity restrictions are gone at restaurants and sporting events and with the warmer weather patios are full. Every day I hear someone else say they are setting foot in a restaurant for the first time in over a year or seeing a loved one or friend for the first time since early 2020. Life feels pretty good here in Minnesota as summer arrives and the pandemic wanes.
Over the past 15+ months we have all adjusted our lives. We’ve learned how to do virtual meetings, along with the now familiar phrases like “You’re on mute” and “Can I share my screen?” For those who have dined in a restaurant, you may have looked up the menu by hovering your phone over the QR code and even ordered without ever talking to a server. Initial fears of what working at home would be like were somewhat alleviated when it was realized productivity could continue as employees found their new routines. I do have to say “somewhat alleviated” as for many with kids doing distance learning, the dual roles of worker and parent during the day was very difficult and stressful.
So…what have we learned? A silver lining on the past year will be if we can take some of these lessons and integrate them into the future. Maybe we don’t need to meet in person for the 7:30 a.m. meeting where attendees come from throughout the metro area, or try our best to make it to the office on snowy days or if we have a cold, knowing we can be just as productive at our home office.
The Midway Chamber is curious how the transition back to in-person offices, or hybrid offices, will go. We are hosting a panel discussion on June 23 called “Bringing the Office Back” where we hope attendees will get their questions answered and realize they had not yet thought about important details. All are welcome to attend and information can be found on our website midwaychamber.com.
Flexibility and technology will be two important factors in our worklife. But one thing we’ve missed is collaboration. While we can accomplish a lot in our separate homes, the synergy that comes with everyone together is hard to replace. Hopefully our future workplace can take the best of both worlds – the in-person office and the lessons we’ve learned.