Reimagining the next new normal

By RJ Oster, Generation Next Governor at Large
ProTech Industries

This article was originally published in the May 2021 issue of Generation Next Edition.

This past year has been full of highs and lows, loss, and renewed hope. On the cusp of what seems like a second try at life, we must step back and evaluate what we want our new normal to look like. What are the personal and professional negative aspects of pandemic life that we can't wait to run away from? What aspects have we relied on for sanity and stability? While our minds are not once more immersed in the hustle and bustle of what we used to know, let's take a moment to pause and reflect on how our new normal can be as prosperous as possible.

Carrying new traditions forward

For some, life has been heavy with isolation and loneliness. Communicating with friends, family, and coworkers has left many of us starved for what was once taken for granted. We may long for the days of office birthday parties and colleagues popping their heads in our office with the familiar phrase, “Do you have a minute?” Handshakes and hugs may take a while to become commonplace once again, but we will get there. Even though isolation may have caused loneliness, let’s not reject that it has provided time for rejuvenation and self-care. Parties and business trips will happen again, but we need to remember to take an afternoon to check in on ourselves. Work on the new hobby you picked up, finish the books you started reading, or just relax. Our "new" new normal does not have to mean you're constantly on the go; you can take it slow.

Others have been overrun with family time within their households: many of us have gotten to see our children succeed at distance learning, reconnect with our spouses, and support each other through the unknown. "Family time" is all the time. Children have gotten to see what their parents really do for work and admire them along the way. As the world opens again, let’s remember that sometimes our most important worlds are within our own homes. Kids and spouses have been spoiled with so much time together that it may be challenging to return to the office. Take time in the evenings or weekends to carry on recently established traditions.

Zoom meetings and digital communication have tested the importance of face-to-face business. Zoom has given us a flexible and effective platform for communication. Meetings don’t need an office building anymore. Airports and bedrooms are just as effective in some cases. You may have been more productive by being able to reach more customers through email than you once were. On the flip side, you may have experienced a downturn in business and can’t wait to get back to in-person meetings. This time has clearly defined what is important to our businesses and what we can push to the wayside.

We have the rare opportunity to start fresh. Whatever you choose to focus on moving forward in this post-pandemic world, remember to be intentional.