After adjusting to our lives during quarantine, we are now beginning to think about the end of the crisis, and what the world will look like afterward. As our states emerge from lockdown at different paces, opening back up one-by-one, we, as a nation, are adjusting to our "new normal", asking ourselves, "What will our new lives look like?"
Lessons From the Past
The 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed about 675,000 people in the U.S., changed hygiene forever. In the following years, signs bearing the message, "Spitting is Unlawful" sprouted up in places like train stations. Covering your cough grew to be considered common courtesy, where before the pandemic, this etiquette was almost unheard of.
In the wake of COVID-19, certain habits we've adapted will likely stick around as well, says Kate White, a behavioral scientist at the University of British Columbia. "Our vigilance around things like disinfecting surfaces — that's probably going to continue," she says.
Our new ways of greeting (elbow bumps or "live long and prosper" salutes instead of handshakes), and interacting with each other (video chats instead of conference-room huddles) are also likely to stick to some degree.
People are accessing more educational resources online for their kids; finding unconventional ways to connect with coworkers, friends, and family; and employers are being more flexible in how they respond to employee needs through more dynamic, cloud-based technology.
Working From Home Will Become the New Normal
Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, says "The pandemic has resulted in what is effectively the largest "work from home" experiment ever conducted in human history. I think we'll see these shifts last well beyond the immediate fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak."
Companies are becoming more comfortable with at least some of their staff working from home. Some CIOs say they might consider letting as much as 25% of their staff work from home. That would mean less people in the office, and in turn, possibly less demand for office space. According to Tim Bajarin, principal analyst at Creative Strategies, "I believe that this could signal the death of open space work environments. The experience with COVID-19 will for years make people more aware of working in shoulder-to-shoulder open offices where it is easy for viruses to spread."
Vivek Ravisankar, CEO and cofounder of programming-challenge platform HackerRank says,
"Remote hiring of technical talent will become the norm, accelerated by the normalization of remote work. This is a win-win for the economy and the talent pool, as it allows companies to fill positions quickly with qualified talent and opens up high-paying tech positions to developers everywhere."
Connecting Digitally Will Accelerate
It's becoming more evident every day that the way people are using technology to spend quality time with loved ones, engage with businesses, and perform their jobs is fundamentally shifting to a new normal. Stan Chudnovsky, VP of Messenger, Facebook explains, "Loved ones who hadn't seen each other in years are now seeing each other daily, people are getting creative with virtual happy hours and keeping up with their formerly "physical" lives with shared workouts and virtual birthday parties on products like Messenger. Of course, there will be some tough consequences when we come out the other side of this, but I believe the growing acceptance of technology to help us feel connected will have lasting benefits."
Education Goes Virtual
The change we are seeing right now in education is not something that is likely to revert back to "normal" in the fall. Although teachers will always be integral to the education process, there will need to be continued flexibility and agility when it comes to things like the delivery of content, testing, and grading. "I expect that we will see an increase in blended learning environments that include learning in both the physical classroom setting and online," says Simon Allen, CEO of McGraw-Hill.
Healthcare Will Embrace The Digital Age
The healthcare industry will be greatly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, and we can expect digital health technologies to form an essential part of the way forward. Dr. Claire Novorol, cofounder and chief medical officer, Ada Health, explains, "The adoption of digital health tools—from assessment services to telemedicine—has rapidly accelerated…and we are witnessing a step-change in the adoption of digital health solutions, and that this has long-term potential."
AARP's List of 10 Things the Pandemic has Changed for Good
As the world emerges from the crisis, employees will find new ways to interact, entrepreneurs will realize business opportunities, consumers will take advantage of new environments, and policy and regulation will adapt to keep everyone safer in the future. With foresight, the results of these innovations may allow our economic infrastructure to grow stronger as it overcomes these challenging times.
Social distancing can take a toll on our mental wellness. It seems like one minute our lives were normal - going to work, eating dinner in crowded restaurants, and gathering with our friends in each other's homes or public meeting places – and the next, we were asked to stay home, alone.
"Understand this is a new and unique situation that will take some adjustment. Cut yourself some slack and realize you will be unproductive and anxious initially, but with mindfulness and creativity, we can adjust to this new normal," says David Stern, M.D. and co-director of the Office of Student Mental Health and Wellness and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
For most of us, connecting with friends, family, and coworkers has moved online. While it may take some getting used to, it is comforting to see a familiar friendly face. Choosing which platform to use to get this digital face-to-face can be overwhelming. Below is a list of some of the best programs for digital meetings with links to a tutorial for each.
Connecting in person is still an option, it just has to be adjusted. By maintaining safe distance, you can still see and talk to your circle of friends and family. Get creative:
Sometimes when we feel helpless, helping someone else is the best remedy. Your whole community has been effected by this disruption. Think of ways you can help those around you that may be in need.
Remember, as we isolate from close human contact, loneliness can be a side effect…but loneliness is avoidable. Stay connected!
With the country on lockdown, you may find yourself with idle time on your hands. Some days seem to stretch endlessly before you as you isolate or self-quarantine. You may be at a loss as to what you should do to fill the hours that used to be so full of meetings, deadlines, and productivity.
This time will pass whether you have used it wisely or not. One way to make the most of it is to learn something new - something that you never had the time to learn before. Some skills may take years to master, but now is your opportunity to take the first steps. Think of your new found knowledge as an investment in your future. These skills might help you not only progress in your career but allow you to jumpstart your way into a whole new chapter in your life.
Five New Skills to Learn During Sheltering In Place
Learn a New Language
Becoming fluent in a new language may take more than our social distancing time, but you don't necessarily need fluency to add value to your life and find that you are more in demand in the workforce. And once the travel ban has been lifted, you can go to the country of your chosen new language and be able to talk to the locals.
You can do a Google search for "How to Learn (add language here)", or view YouTube tutorials on learning a language. Also, check out:
Before you begin, you might check out this good advice on choosing a language, at: https://tim.blog/2007/11/07/how-to-learn-but-not-master-any-language-in-1-hour-plus-a-favor/.
Learn Sign Language
Not only is learning a second language good for your brain, it's also a great way to expand your communication skills. This is especially true for American Sign Language, ASL, which according to Healthy Hearing.com is the fifth most-used language in the U.S. Learning ASL may enhance your career and give added benefit to the workplace. Used by educators, first responders, and service providers, mastering this skill could open many new channels for you professionally.
While you are home, take on-line courses such as: https://www.classcentral.com/search?q=sign+language
But first you might want to read the information at:
Once quarantine is lifted, consider taking a sign language course at a community college near you.
Learn How to Build a Website
For a small fee you can learn web development essentials and gain a thorough understanding of HTML and CSS. With the current spike in demand for web conectivity, this is a great skill to have in your pocket.
This self-directed, personal learning program is an all-in-one solution that includes everything you will need to complete high-quality training anywhere. You never know when adding this skill to your arsenal could potentially save a life! This video-based program teaches basic lifesaving skills in about 20 minutes:
Get Started on that Novel!
So you have always wanted to write a novel, but never had the time to start. No more excuses! Grab your lap top and get started:
The best skills to learn durring quaarantine are those that will help you become more hirable as an employee or more self-sufficient as a person once everything returns to normal. There are endless courses available to you on-line. The hard part is choosing which one to start with!
What Are You Waiting For?
If you have toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but responsibilities and life events always seemed to get in the way, NOW is your chance to cease the day and start! You may have sound bites in your head telling you, "You have no talent" or, "You are too old to start now" - but nothing is further from the truth. Playing an instrument is a craft that can be learned by almost everyone. According to Charles Cleyn, a musician, marketer and life-long learner, there are approximately 500,000,000 guitar players in the world! If that many people can play a guitar, then so can you.
No More Excuses
If the reason for not pursuing your artistic talents has always been, "I don't have time", you can now scratch that excuse off the list. During this period of sheltering in place, there is plenty of room in each day for music lessons and practice time. If you procrastinated in the past because there were no teachers nearby, well, say goodbye to that one too. Thanks to the internet, there are endless options for learning to play an instrument.
Pre-recorded video lessons, Skype lessons, training modules, and online exercises are all examples of the new ways musicians can fine-tune their skill, or learn a new instrument, without even having to walk out their front door. There are a lot of advantages to taking music lessons online, but there are a few disadvantages to be aware of, too.
The benefits of online music lessons far outweigh the drawbacks
There are so many benefits to taking lessons online, and just a few disadvantages:
Convenience – The biggest advantage is that it is ridiculously convenient. You can learn at your own pace, on your own schedule and from the comfort of your home.
More Choices – No worry about finding a teacher in your area. Online lessons mean you can find the perfect teacher for you, even if they live 1,000 miles away. But do try to access a teacher in your community. Supporting local businesses is of major importance during the COVID19 business shutdown.
Cost Effectiveness – Due to the convenience, flexibility and lower overhead costs to teachers, online music lessons can be lower-priced than traditional, in-house lessons.
Support Opportunities – Online sites offer support tools like community forums, training modules, and digital content. Sharing and connecting with others online is beneficial, and offers you a supportive online community to lean on.
Physical Guidance – Beginners often struggle with the physical challenge of how to handle the instrument, how to place their fingers, posture, etc. Not having a person there to demonstrate physically can be a little daunting at first, and requires perseverance.
Motivation – With online lessons the only person holding you accountable is YOU! Be sure you are ready for the commitment.
Now all you need to do is drag your 7th grade band clarinet from beneath your bed, dust off the case, and start your Google search!
During this time of pandemic, more so than in years past, many people are starting vegetable gardens right where they live. Growing your own vegetables means not only fewer trips to the grocery store and venturing out into public, but a way to help you feel like you are making a difference when your world feels out of control.
Where To Begin?
For people who are new to farming, it is hard to know where to begin. Luckily for us all, there is limitless one-on-one advice on line, teaching us the "a, b, c's" of how to grow your own vegetables. Gail Langellotto, a professor of horticulture and statewide coordinator of the Master Gardener program at Oregon State University offers a free course through the end of April. Even if you miss the free introduction period, it is worth taking her introduction to gardening course.
You Don't Need 100 Acres
In fact, you don't even need any land at all! You can start your home garden on your porch or deck, using containers or decorative pots. With container gardening, all you need is a vessel, good soil, and plenty of sunlight.
Jennifer Blackwell, one of our very own Chinowth & Cohen Realtors agent, has joined many Oklahomans who have started home gardens on their porches, big and small. She was recently featured in the Oklahoman talking about her experience.
As a segway from containers to raised beds, many people have adopted straw bale gardening, or tilled soil gardens. Straw bale gardening is when you use straw bales like raised beds in the yard so that no additional soil is needed.
Get Started With Seeds
Starting out may seem overwhelming but once you get going, you'll be done in no time. In 30-75 days you will have a productive garden of your own!
Start your seeds early, so that when the weather is consistently warm and your garden is ready, they will be too.
You can use used teabags to put seeds into, as it activates the growth process. Use empty Keurig cups or empty egg shells as the container for the teabags. Once the plants are big enough and the weather is warm enough, plant your seedlings right into the garden, giving them plenty of space to stretch their feet. Different varieties need different amounts of space, so be sure to do your research before you plant.
Do you Prefer a Traditional In-ground Garden?
If you want to forgo the decorative pots or straw bales, and plant directly in the ground, you will need to apply some old fashioned hard work to get the ground ready.
Handy Tip - Make a blueprint of where you planted which vegetable in your garden because it is easy to forget!
Becoming an urban farmer provides countless benefits to you and the environment. Whether growing a single tomato plant or enough vegetables for you and your entire neighborhood, it can improve your physical health by supplying your diet with nutritious vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Gardening is a way to get outside for some fresh air, physical activity, and absorb vitamin D from the sunshine, all promoting physical health. And don't forget, you can save money by growing your own vegetables!