This past Monday, the Covid-19 health emergency officially ended in the US. However, the reverberations of the pandemic will be with us for a looong time to come. At least for me, I know they will. After three years, I’m a very different person now than I was in March 2020. One big example is how I think about work and my post-pandemic workplace. I’m certain I’m not alone.
A visit, three years delayed…
While the pandemic continued grinding towards its eventual end (it had to end some time, right?) on May 11th, the week prior I had just returned from visiting my elderly mother for the first time in more than three years. And after waiting all that time for a visit that I imagined would be safe for her, guess what happened? I learned that one of my cousins that briefly stopped by eventually tested positive. So, instead of feeling good about just finally getting to see my mom, I instead spent the week concerned for her health over the one thing I didn’t want to have to think about.
And upon my return home, instead of filling my BAKE:works orders as I had intended, I paused my production over potential illness and set about issuing my apologies coupons for the customers whose orders I cancelled. Thankfully, those folks understood, wished me well, and received their rescheduled orders today.
…coincides with a design opportunity
Also, somewhat coincidentally, I spent time last week putting the finishing touches on a design to reconstruct the rear porch of my house. If I haven’t mentioned it before, my house was built in 1910. The existing rear porch is of the same vintage, purely utilitarian, and about fifty years past its prime. The porch is enclosed but uninsulated, and wasn’t intended as habitable space. The experience of the past three years however has caused me to reimagine how I might make better use of this area of my house. After more than three decades thinking work was something that happened someplace other than at home, the pandemic has imprinted upon me the reality that, with the right set up, my house is actually where I prefer to base my business. So, it’s time to reimagine the rear porch of my house as my eventual, full-time workplace.
Workplace is different now
Now, of course I understand that working from home is nothing new. Lots of people have been doing it for a long time. But those people have always been the exception to the rule. But, as far as I’m concerned, the pandemic experience has solidly rewritten that rule. Many companies continue to fight this new reality, sort of like a workplace version of The Empire Strikes Back. So be it. I, and plenty of others, now see work and workplace very differently.
The only thing left to do now is embrace it. For me, this means starting with the less than one hundred and fifty square feet at the back of my house I’ll use to do my thing.