June 4, 2021
As the world begins to “return to normal,” there are some innovations, processes and habits we picked up during the COVID-19 lockdown that actually weren’t so bad – in fact, there are a few COVID adaptations I think we should keep.
Working from home
From a business perspective, our once “brick-and-mortar” healthcare PR agency continued to thrive as a virtual business. More than that, employees – myself included – realized there are a lot of benefits to working from home. Obviously, none of us have missed the commute, and I think we are all finding a little work-life balance in our home offices. Aria has always prided itself on having a flexible and adaptable company culture, and we see how much of an impact the virtual work environment has had on our team’s overall happiness. While we are not exactly sure what the future will hold, we are certain that we will continue to offer our employees flexible schedules and work-from-home options. (Also, who doesn’t love being able to jump on the Peloton in between client calls?!)
Creative dining options
Anyone who follows Aria online knows that we are a pretty food-focused company. That is one thing that COVID-19 did not take from us. We participated in many Zoom lunches and continued to share our favorite recipes and restaurant reviews on our internal and external channels. While food service was arguably one of the hardest-hit sectors of the economy, I was amazed at how restaurants worked to reinvent themselves during the pandemic. From ghost kitchens and expanded outdoor dining options to pop-ups to new delivery services (such as my favorite, Weco), restaurants and chefs alike continued to bring light to our otherwise gloomy days via incredible food. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker also gets a few extra credit points for allowing restaurants to serve cocktails to-go. That is something that really needs to stick around!
A focus on home improvement
Did anyone not tackle a home improvement project during the lockdown? During the pandemic, our homes became our offices, our daycares and our gyms, and many of us needed to modify our living spaces accordingly. For instance, I turned my daughter’s playroom into a pretty nice home office, complete with a retro accent wall. With a few small updates, we turned our ‘waste-of-space’ basement into a home gym, and we finally kicked off a living room re-design project. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t spent THAT much time at home.
Well, we do work at a healthcare-focused PR agency, so I had to sneak a healthcare improvement in here! Before COVID, between driving to a doctor’s appointment and sitting around in a waiting room (and then waiting in an exam room), a quick checkup could easily turn into a two-hour headache. I engaged with several physicians via telehealth over the past year and a half, and it truly is a game-changer. Appointments are more efficient yet, in many cases, equally as effective, and the time savings is huge.
Appreciation for nature
When your only source of entertainment is the great outdoors, formerly mundane activities, like walking the dog, take on new meaning. My weekends went from being jam-packed with social commitments, travel and running errands to mapping out hiking trails and researching new parks and beaches – and loving it! Without this forced shutdown, I would never have made the time for these fulfilling activities.
Don’t get me wrong – COVID-19 was mostly negative for countless reasons, most significantly the massive loss of life we continue to experience across the world. But the way people came together to innovate and rethink what is possible is truly remarkable, and I hope this collaborative spirit remains.
What changes did you make to your routine that you are going to continue beyond COVID? What innovations or new services do you love? Tweet at us @ariamarketing and let us know!