Covid has changed our lives for good, and possibly/probably not for the better. Let’s take it by activity.
Here is some history. Flying used to be fun, economical and had good service. We used to like going on an airplane until some jag-off decided to try and light his shoe bomb on a plane. Then another tried to blow up his underwear. We now have to queue in a long line and I’m not all that sure that it’s stopped anyone other than the average Joe traveler. It hasn’t stopped the TSA from copping a feel on strangers. The food sucks now and isn’t free anymore. Flying is more like the line for enlistment (including your prostate exam by the TSA) than to get on a plane.
With Covid, we can now add a temperature check, face masks and the the fear of catching anything from being in a tube for hours with little to no service. The airports are petri dishes for bacteria.
Given the losses on travel companies and equipment manufacturers, it doesn’t bode well for the travel industry or the travelers.
Going to the office to work.
The requirement to be in person at work not as necessary as thought.
Before remote working, we had to be in the office or no one could be fully sure that you were earning your pay. Travel and working remotely eased that but there still are some bosses who didn’t trust their employees. I had one piss-ant manager named R. Gorman when I worked at Thinkpad who didn’t trust anyone. He sent a memo called rules of the road where you had to be in the office. All that got him was no trust or loyalty from the team. We were technologically equipped to work from anywhere and always did on business travel, but there still was some requirement to be in the office otherwise.
Employees want to be empowered to succeed. When that happens, they find ways to be creative and accomplish their goals. Conversely, when you treat them like school children, many will act that way. Just like with Ray, our productivity went down and the Ray jokes went up.
Now, no one can go in to work while we are socially distancing, and most jobs (non-manufacturing) are still getting done. It’s easy to reach anyone at anytime (too easy and too intrusive) but the oversight of said taskmasters is not needed. In a way, the people are now empowered and they still get the work done. This one could be a benefit of Covid.
The downside is that a lot of empty buildings will lose their real estate value as there is no need to be in the office with the exception of essential workers.
How it affects the home
For us introverts, I thought it would be a time that we could cancel and/or avoid engagements until Zoom invaded our lives. Now even virtual happy hours are like a meeting. I’ve noticed that it’s hard to get privacy when kids and dogs are in the room or yelling in the background. Spouses or parents have been caught parading nude in front of the camera by accident.
When you meet in person, it’s easier to read body language and have someones attention. I tend to drift during Zoom meetings and have multiple devices that I often look at. I’ve noticed that I’m not alone.
Trouble for Introverts
Normally, we would be in pig heaven not to have to go to the office. In addition to the invasiveness of Zoom/Skype, we are stuck in the house with extroverts who won’t leave us alone. It’s like being trapped in hell. You want the quiet and the peace you got when the extrovert was in the office, instead your personal space is invaded and you can’t escape the dreaded small talk. The place that used to be your refuge has been invaded and there is no escape.
How are you supposed to recharge your social battery when an extrovert is constantly draining it all day?
The school model is now exposed, especially at college level. No more extortion for dorms when you can do 90% online. College professors are no longer as essential. Recorded classes, especially at the 100 and 200 level are adequate. Online testing and submitting required homework is routinely done online even well before this virus.
It turns out that colleges are a Breathtakingly overpriced product.
According to Mike Rowe: “They’re gonna’ find big thinkers with easily accessible ideas who are exponentially more interesting than professors, and soon, I hope, our obscene love affair with credentialing is going to stop, and we’re going to pause in every imaginable way, and look at what is essential – not just in workers or in work, but in education, in food, in fun. Everything is going to be forced through a different filter,” he said.
Colleges will also be exposed on their sports programs. Sports are a bank fund that pays for a lot of other school expenses and is a recruiting tool for enrollment. The schools will now have to rely on actual academics as a draw for students instead of March Madness or Bowl season. Maybe the students will now get an education instead of an indoctrination to Marxism.
Conversely, this is a big positive as the cost of education has the opportunity to go down (but so far the colleges are still extorting the same ransom from parents). Room and board are a large part of the cost of an education. Combine that with the lack of a requirement for many classrooms and there is the road to cutting costs.
It is not in the best interest of the Major institutions to charge less, but the cat is out of the bag that you can get almost as much done online. I hope that the masses will overcome and help this opportunity for cost cutting.
For elementary, middle and high school, I think it will hurt our youth. There is a need for hands on in basic learning and kids have the attention span of gnats. Sometimes you need to snatch their asses back to attention when it’s learning time.
New paradigm for getting essential needs like groceries.
Essential services like cancer, emergency rooms are same, but will change. Non-essential Dr. visits are now handled over the phone or via video. Dr.’s can now dedicate more of their time to real emergencies or necessary in-person visits. A person using the Emergency Room for healthcare because they don’t have insurance is going to go way down.
There is no downtime for paperwork and other overhead that comes with any job, but that got handled off-line mostly anyway.
Rely on technology more, but the risk is that you can take down a society like the virus did. Beware of hackers though, where there is opportunity, there will be bad guys looking to make your day worse.
Groceries have taken a turn for the better/worse/something different. Now that we went through the great toilet paper shortage and people have enough to wipe their asses for the next 5 years. They can realize that a little planning can condense 5 shopping trips into one, or one delivery or pickup.
A lot converts have been made for grocery delivery. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out though. I’ve gotten stuff I didn’t order, but mostly I rarely get everything I wanted, even if I put in what the substitute would be product. There is no shopping for the store brand that is a whole lot cheaper.
We have gotten used to queuing a lot more now. It used to be the end of the world for some people who had to wait for more than one person to checkout. Now, we’re standing on X’s taped to the floor like kindergartners waiting to go potty.
As is the trend, online shopping has picked up and the downside is retail stores are less needed. Again, this is a loss in real estate value and will leave a lot of square footage available.
So all in all, some of this is good, but a lot of it was unnecessary. If it wasn’t an election year or if there were different political leaders, a whole lot of people wouldn’t be losing there freaking minds over every little thing that they look for to be offended by. HCQ would be over the counter like it is in a lot of countries and we wouldn’t be held hostage for masks as no one really seems to know whether it truly helps or hurts us yet.
I’ll remain optimistic that society will adapt. I’m pessimistic that this is a political power opportunity to control the masses and we should beware.