How Has Your Work Life Changed?

The nature of work life had been changing, but the COVID pandemic accelerated that change. How we work may never be the same again.

While some companies closed temporarily or permanently, others adapted in ways that may have long-lasting impacts.

Many companies were hesitant to encourage their employees to work from home. There was some concern that productivity would plummet, if workers were at home, where there were innumerable distractions.

However, those fears appeared to have been overblown. Productivity did not take a noticeable hit when employees were forced to work from home, even if they have kids they suddenly needed to provide daycare for. And office space can be quite expensive, so downsizing corporate buildings can have measurable financial benefits.

Even beyond that, quality of life for employees working from home can improve significantly. Commute times drop to zero, and a worker can put in just as many hours at their job, and still have time to devote more time to family. A happy employee is a productive employee.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘How do you define success?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘Is happiness the most important purpose in life?’


Still, there are concerns that communication between co-workers may suffer. It is also difficult to build a sense of camaraderie between employees who spend little to no time in close proximity.

As government guidelines change, so companies are requiring their workers to go back to the office, while some are not. Even those that go back may find some things have changed in the year and a half since the pandemic started.

What about you? Are there differences in the way you do your work? Are there differences in the way your business or your company thinks about remote work? How has your work life changed?

Related questions: How do you want this to change you? Work or play? What is your dream job? What is the value of inefficiency?

Regarding COVID, What Are You Comfortable With?

As the number of people in the U.S. who are vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus increases, the restrictions put in to place for our safety are being eased. However, the level of risk to be accepted varies from individual to individual. What are you comfortable with?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have announced updated guidelines that suggest people who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear masks indoors, nor do they have to maintain the standard physical distance that we have been accustomed to over the last year+.

We are all eager to return to our previous lives, including seeing and hugging our loved ones, or attending large events like music concerts and sporting events.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the question ‘Freedom or security?’ Stay tuned for a bonus question, ‘Is technology neutral?’


However, on the same day that the CDC recommended the new guidelines, prominent comedian Bill Maher tested positive for COVID, causing his production team to postpone the taping of his weekly talk show. Maher is fully vaccinated and he does not have any symptoms. But it is clear that as much as we want a return to normal, the danger has not passed yet.

In addition, it is entirely possible that people who are anti-mask or anti-vaccine will take advantage of these new guidelines to avoid wearing a mask even though they are not fully vaccinated.

Therefore, there remains some level of risk, both to us as individuals (even the fully vaccinated ones), as well as to our community.

So what are you comfortable with? No change? Going maskless while outdoors? Outdoor dining? Maskless, indoor groups of vaccinated individuals? Indoor dining? Large groups of people, say, 500 or more?

Related questions: What will be the new normal? Mask or no mask? How do you evaluate risk? How do you want this to change you?

What Can You Do You To Improve Your Surroundings?

It makes sense to arrange your surroundings to be as pleasant as possible. Are you doing that? And if so, how?

Even under normal circumstances, we spend a lot of our lifetime in just a handful of locations. And with more people than ever staying home due to the pandemic, those numbers will only become more stark.

So what, if anything, have you done to your environment with that in mind? If you think about each sense in turn, are you taking steps to address each one?

Our most-used sense is sight, and that’s also the easiest and most likely way to improve the aesthetics of where you live. Perhaps you have paint colors that are pleasing to the eye, or maybe some art hanging on the walls. Are there other things you could do to make your home look like a better place to be.

But what about the other senses? Perhaps some music you enjoy to please you hearing. Can you do anything about smell? Touch?

Spending time and effort on this might seem frivolous in today’s environment. However, there are plenty of stressors that dominate the news, like the pandemic, divisive politics, racial unrest, climate chaos, and so on. Having a place to go that soothes your jangled sense and gives you a peaceful few moments can be quite beneficial to your mental health.

What do you currently do to improve your surroundings? Could you do more?

Related questions: What makes a place feel like home? How do you perform self-care? What is your favorite sense? What is your retreat from the world?

What Are The Best Things That Happened To You In 2020?

Can you recognize the good things that happened to you in a bad year? Being grateful for what you have can save you from despair.

The year 2020 has been bad in a number of ways. Our natural world was devastated by disasters like wildfires or hurricanes. Racial unrest led to protests, which spawned riots. A contentious political season saw election results questioned, and as a result our very democracy trembled.

Oh yes, and a pandemic swept across the globe, infecting tens of millions and killing well over a million people worldwide. Reactions to this ravaged our economy and changed life as we know it.

And yet, even in the worst circumstances, good things happen. They may be small, or fleeting, or personal. But these good things happen, and recognizing the good things that occur can give us hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.

So at the end of the year, what are some of the good things that happened to you? It is likely that you can point out dozens of ways that your life has been impacted for the worse. But can you think of ways it has gotten better?

What is the best thing that happened to you in 2020?

Related questions: Are there unexpected benefits to what we are going through? What are you grateful for? What are you optimistic about? Why should we be hopeful?