As someone who is disabled, I’ve always loved public transportation, and not just in a “Oh, that’s cute!” kind of way. To me, public transit is something of a lifeline (just see here); it’s my main method of getting around, and my main form of independence. Without it, I feel lost, alone, and unable to do anything (or get anywhere) without asking for help.
So, when the coronavirus hit, I was nervous. What would this mean for me and my ability to be, in the words of Kelly Clarkson, Miss Independent? Would I still be able to get around? Get groceries? See people in the flesh (all while adhering to government protocols, of course. P.S. WEAR A MASK PEOPLE!)?
Turns out, I can. It’s been five months since I’ve stepped foot on a bus and yet…. I’m actually fine.
Like Ross and Rachel, you could say public transit and I are on a break, and it’s been great. I don’t feel lost, I’m not just sitting at home, crying alone into the abyss. I’m able to get groceries delivered (or bribe my boyfriend into taking me to the store, which he does, because he is the sweetest). When I see people in-person, I ask them to come to my place, or meet me at a nearby park. I am also able to do work, just as I did before COVID-19 – with the exception of having to say “You’re on mute!” a whole lot more.
And while I haven’t physically ventured far from my apartment since March, I haven’t felt a loss of independence by any means. It’s just taken a bit of adjusting and more importantly, adapting.
If there is anything I’ve learned over these last five months, it’s that we – along with businesses – can always adapt. Businesses who were terrified of allowing their employers to work remotely have discovered that – GASP! – they can trust their employees to pump out quality work, even in their PJs. Giving sales presentations is more than possible, thanks to things like Zoom. PR pros are still able to foster lasting relationships with media, even against the pandemic’s continuous backdrop, and get results.
This notion of adaptability will become even more critical in the months and years ahead. For business, it will be important to ask, what have we learned from our employees during this time that we can adapt into the future, when things are “back to normal?” What have been the positives? And the pitfalls?
Employees should also be taking time to reflect. On a personal level, what’s worked? What hasn’t? And what do you hope to see applied to your work life, when we return to the office?
Much like my relationship with public transit, I’ve found that, just because things may be vastly changing, or are completely different than what they used to be, that doesn’t mean we should give up – or that all hope is lost. Instead, it’s important to embrace your circumstances. Get creative. Find alternative solutions, and above all else, never pump the brakes on your ability to adapt.