Commentary: Learning from the Pandemic

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Trevor Beller/Foothill Forum

Working/Learning from home.

Trevor Beller, Editor

As we say our bitter farewells to 2020, the world has been left to look back on the year and find a silver lining while facing the everlasting threat of COVID-19.

It’s not a hot take to say that the pandemic definitely threw a wrench into the system last year. Workers were sent home  either to readjust to a new work environment or to figure out a new way to bring home the bacon. Their kids, elementary to high school, transferred from the classroom to the bedroom. Masks and distancing became the norm for people worldwide, and staying at home gained new meaning. It wasn’t our finest moment. Despite the hardship, there are many things to consider while we enter a new yeara year that may see the disease finally lose its power.

One such concept is how necessary a workplace actually is. Obviously, for the hands-on workers of the world, the environment and the presence is essential. But for the average office employee, the working-from-home experience has improved productivity in various areas, such as calls-per-minute. Studies and surveys from Harvard Business Review and Stanford have shown that there have been countless benefits in sending employees home. Productivity and time spent working have both increased in direct correlation and causation with the stay-at-home orders. With technological advancements, the work commute has been replaced with a few feet walked from the bedroom to the home office. The efficiency has allowed us to rethink the conventional office and consider a workplace that doesn’t require desks, chairs, or cubicles. 

For many schools the pandemic has been a learning opportunity for both students and teachers (though nonetheless a hassle). Utilizing computers instead of textbooks, the academic community has found effective ways to provide education through electronics rather than through pen, paper, chalk, and chalkboard. We’ve been familiarized with easy access grading systems and assignment management resources that allow students to take better control of their work. Teachers can choose an alternative resource to teach their students that doesn’t require a single printer. Though there are many features that being present in the classroom offers that the digital world doesn’t, this pandemic may be the push that brings the advantages of technology into the classrooms of the future. 

It goes without saying that the new and adjusted daily life under Covid-19 is not a favorable one; nonetheless, it is important that we learn from the damage we’ve received, and consider new perspectives we never saw before the virus came about. There is never a lack of opportunity in the world we live in, and last year’s pandemic is no exception.