Is this the “New Normal?”

We can all probably agree that 2020 has been one of the most interesting years of our lives. Personally, I have experienced a change in my social life, my work life, and my college experience. While I have completed internships in an office, I found this situation to be quite interesting. As a result of my experience participating in a “remote internship,” although we were not able to interact with others in person, I think that employees are able to learn a new way to work. As an intern and someone who will, hopefully, have a full-time job in the next year, I am left wondering how this will change how people my age will start their first full-time job. The current state of business operations is quite different depending on the field and location. While some may find this time to be difficult and inconvenient, others find it helpful for their work-life balance.

During the past six months, it has been extremely hard to stay positive during all the negativity. I have been trying to find how this time has affected people in a positive way. With people not being able to go into work, there has been an opportunity for small savings in areas such as transportation, food, and possibly, day care. The fact that many people had to work from home may have resulted in a decline in pollution. People may joke around that they have been forced to spend more time with their families, but I feel there are advantages to this. Not only is this helping with a work-life balance, but people who have to commute more than an hour each day for work now have the opportunity to complete more tasks around the house and spend time with family that they may have had to miss throughout the week. Although this time has been difficult for so many businesses, I believe the office environment is going to change severely. Companies may allow people to work from home more often or even work in a different state. This could be a major change for companies, especially in the next five years.

There are many stereotypes that go around about Millennials, and most of them are negative. We hear how this generation is attached to their phones and have less social skills than other generations yet they are dedicated at staying with a job. I have heard about companies having high turnover rates or people leaving because they want to move. This “new normal” may change that problem completely.  Companies can now change their way of work by allowing people to work from home permanently or with a set schedule. Additionally, companies may allow people to work from another state. Some people argue that the switch to working online has strained relationships between the company and their employees. Personally, I think that working online has added so much flexibility in work schedules and could possibly increase employee’s job satisfaction.

Although there are so many ways that we can complain about this current state of the world, we need to think about the positives and run with them. Take the extra hour or two that you have saved in commuting and do something for yourself. I have taken this internship as a way of learning how to deal with a different environment. I may not have been able to meet as many people as I would in the office, but I was able to work in circumstances that I would not have before. Hopefully I am able to look back on this year and remember the challenges that I overcame and lessons I have learned rather than the difficulties that came my way.

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