As companies, of many sizes, begin to hit the reset button and re-open their doors, alongside the entire country there are some things that humanity hopes don’t ever return to the “way it was before.” The loss of lives and livelihoods from COVID-19 is almost too much to comprehend. And yet, slowly, conversations are emerging about the positives percolating from the pandemic. It’s human nature to want to look for the positives in even the worst of situations. I’ve noticed that in both my personal and my professional circles of late, people are talking about the things they hope we don’t lose when things go back to “normal.”
Chief among them is a level of humanity that our previously faster-paced lives, ways, and organizations had perhaps too often and too easily dismissed. Humans on the frontline of care delivery, for example. The effects of social isolation on healthy people, much less those who are sick. The struggle and juggle of modern work-life balance. Inequalities in healthcare access and delivery. Plus, remote working has helped most people take a deep breath, and even some become super-productive.
We’ve long talked about technology’s ability to make some of these things more accessible, to close some of these gaps, but now we know just how possible they are when people, politics, and policy unite in the face of adversity. We now know just how quickly even the largest and slowest-moving of systems and any size company can change course and even course-correct. Here are 3 items we all hope to stick around a while.
1. Virtual Care Support and Delivery
Whether telemedicine, telehealth, or the remote workforce, we’ve not merely crossed the chasm but bridged it, and we predict we’re here to stay. Prior to COVID-19, less than 10% of healthcare visits were conducted with telehealth and/or telemedicine. That number is now estimated at 40% to 50%, and it’s unlikely that the cat gets put back in the bag, nor should it. (source: WHO)
2. Communication with Feeling and Facts
To be fair, communications were probably pretty good in most organizations before COVID-19, but it was likely more periodic and in the form of an email rather than the constant communications with teams like we’re seeing now. Every employer should continue to focus on employee and stakeholder communication, as we see this pandemic through, and indeed well beyond it. By turning inward to cultivate awareness, vulnerability, empathy, and compassion, and then turning outward to comfort and address employees’ concerns, leaders can exhibit individual care, build resilience, and position their organizations to reimagine a post-crisis future positively.
3. Empathic Conversations
There has been a dramatic shift in the positive, team player mentality around how and where people do their jobs. The increased show of heart has inspired us as we all navigate these uncharted waters. We believe this uptick in empathy may, in fact, be COVID-19’s most meaningful consequence, and we believe empathy has delivered a newfound intrinsic value. There has been a dramatic increase in call volume and call duration, and no one needs to guess why these calls are lasting longer, empathy. We can all agree that the increase in real humanity, customer experience, and customer success has transformed business. Let’s all take a long hard look at whether we should return to our past normal or instead pivot and learn from our current empathy.