"Can we ask for a refund for 2020?"
That’s one of the remarks I most often hear from my interviewees amid the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a broadcast journalist and presenter, it means not only having to adjust to a new normal of working ourselves, but also getting a privileged front-row seat to witnessing how it is affecting all of us.
For many, it has been WFH – for some not an easy experience, especially those with kids – when it then becomes, “You are at your home, during a crisis, trying to work.” For those managing businesses, it means wrapping your head around how to keep operations and payroll going.
Fortunately (depending on how you look at things), I’m classified as an essential worker and get to head to the radio station for my morning show. It’s business as usual. Almost.
Gone for now are the days of warm and intimate face-to-face conversations, meetings, and networking sessions – replaced mostly by a phone connection or a Zoom video call. Stripped off the small talk, handshakes, smiles, and other nuances from one’s body language – at times it did risk becoming slightly more transactional. That’s one obstacle my team has had to overcome to deliver a quality programme.
This new normal of work recently manifested in the reportage of GE2020, where for the first time, there were no physical rallies (and supporters’ catchy posters), no crowds with their flags, umbrellas and other memorabilia, no media scrums, but instead extra safety distancing measures and restrictions, etc. Reporters, not just candidates, needed a new playbook to figure this out (including how to spot and recognise candidates through their face masks)!
But looking at things glass half-full? New changes prompt new perspectives (e.g. this meeting could have been an email)!
Fundamentally, it has forced many of us to reflect and focus on what truly matters and figure out our priorities – pushing us to fall back and focus more on existing relationships, while at the same time opening our minds to being “virtually” more receptive to new connections.
Going by these signs at least, this sets us up to emerge stronger post-COVID-19.