by Kevin Eikenberry

Because the pandemic, and all the changes it brought to our world have been so pervasive and caused so many emotions among us, it is easy to see why people would want to go back to “normal,” to the “good old days” of pre-pandemic work and life. That desire is understandable, probably natural…and completely futile.

Even if we want to go back, we can’t. The world has changed, and we need to recognize (and embrace) the new world/working order.

My normal is changing

Pre-pandemic, my office at Remarkable House was an office. It contained a desk and credenza, bookshelves lining the walls, pictures, memorabilia, and two reclining chairs for longer conversations. All those things still exist, but now there are cameras, more lights and this:

new normal

We are adding even more features that make my “office” look even more like a studio. There is still a studio downstairs, but now, well, my office is more than an office.

Sometimes I wish there were less clutter and more simplicity, but much good comes from the new equipment and set up in my office too. The world changed, and my environment has (rightly and necessarily) changed with it.  Much like our lives and work, not everything is changed, but the changes – both substitutions and additions – are now obvious, real, and here to stay for awhile.

Yours is, too

Your situation is likely different than mine. It might not include cameras, but a new set of rhythms and routines. You might interact with people differently perhaps less frequently. And while you might mourn the loss of some things, you have learned much in the last two years, too. 

I bet the changes in your “normal” has caused you some challenges and stress. And I bet at least some of the time, on at least some of the changes, you wish you could just go back.

But would we really want to erase two years of experiences and learning? Trying to go back is futile, and likely not even wise.

Now What?

We can capture or recapture the best of what we had before (Don’t ask me to remove the books from my office).  But recognizing the value from the past doesn’t need to become a longing for a reset to 2019. After all, it wasn’t exactly perfect, it was just known and comfortable. Rather we should look at our new situation with the eyes of a learner and blend it with what we had before to create something that isn’t just different, but in as many ways as possible, is better.

If we will recognize the best of the past and apply the lessons learned over the past two years, we can create better working environments, better results, a better balance between our work and lives, and get better results for everyone.

This piece was originally posted in Remarkable Results, a LinkedIn Newsletter. If you want more practical ideas for remote and hybrid work, and what the future of work will hold, you can subscribe (for free!).

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