A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.
Covid-19 is not the first disaster we seniors have faced during our lifetimes, and it will certainly not be the last. We understand that as a matter of course. But even difficult times can offer occasions of hope. Covid is no exception.
Covid-19 is a monumental disaster, yielding untimely deaths and untold misery for millions of people around the world. But trying to look on the bright side, it may have permanently changed our lifestyles in ways we’ve resisted, and some of these could be quite beneficial.
For instance, many companies have been hesitant to allow employees to work from home. The Covid crisis has forced the issue, and many employees are now working from home.
Few things are more satisfying than being able to avoid a long commute. We can begin work without any opportunity to develop road rage and even invest some of our former commuting time on the job.
In functions where working off-site is practical, another benefit is the reduction of necessary office space. Admittedly, this wouldn’t be good for the commercial real estate market, but it could substantially reduce a company’s overhead burden.
In many cases, it’s not all or nothing. Some combination of on-site activity may still be required, yet the right mixture of the two can yield improved business results with almost no investment. This change in the work environment can be beneficial to seniors and allow us more flexibility.
Have you noticed the lack of traffic during Covid? If working from home takes off, it could be a tremendous way to solve our dire congestion problems. And of course, air pollution has dropped substantially as well.
Fuel costs might even decline. No doubt, the oil industry wouldn’t be happy, but there are numerous benefits if we can learn to travel less. Our cars will last longer, and our weekly costs will drop.
Don’t worry, the oil industry will learn to adjust to the new reality. Real competition for the first time in decades could encourage efficiencies from which we’ll all benefit.
The airlines have seen their passengers evaporate. Maybe some senior airline executives will search their distant memories for how it used to be back in the good old days when they actually tried to treat passengers like real people.
If airlines would like to rebuild their markets, they might consider really cleaning their planes. Take a bunch of seats out, so we can actually have something called legroom. Remember, if you pack them like sardines, the sardines don’t willingly get in the can, and they would never pay for the “privilege.”
And yes, get rid of those ridiculous fees for everything from changing a flight to getting on with a little bit of luggage.
Schools have, at times, been closed, and teachers scrambled to convert their classes to online learning. Snow days will never be the same. Kids can safely stay home and continue learning without missing a beat. While this may not significantly reflect on seniors, perhaps it will allow more time with grandchildren and other family members.
Virtual school is not the same as being on campus, but look at how much cheaper online learning is. Room and board are no trivial expenses. If you can handle not living away from home, you could actually try taking classes to learn something new and graduate without a student loan.
At this point, we can’t wait for the crisis to end. Throughout history, people that survive and even thrive are those most able to adapt to changing realities, and like it or not, these realities are likely to be with us for a while.
It may not be easy, but finding ways to capitalize on these new realities may be just what we need.
Thanks to Ron Bourque and the New Hampshire Business Review
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