No fast path to recovery

Every week it seems like we’re trying to chart a new course. Our main concern has been surviving the pandemic over the past two years. And then it became about finding ways to work remotely while still being productive. Eventually this gave way to slowly venturing outside. Now we are trying to figure out the best way forward in a new/old world.

I’ve written about this in the past, but the thing is, moving forward as the pandemic slowly begins to recede isn’t as easy as most make it out to be. We’re all rushing to be back outside our homes, but is that the best way forward? Sure, socializing is important, but the more pressing concern these days is that we don’t seem to really be applying everything we’ve learned over the past 24 months.

I can clearly understand the desire to return to life before COVID-19. After all, we all want to feel safe again and be with our friends and family. But as I’ve said before, it’s not always about ‘going back to business as usual’. We should focus on living better. Instead, it looks like traffic is back and people are flooding the streets.

Although our COVID-19 numbers are promising and lower than those of many countries around us, we have to ask ourselves, is it because we are safely dodging the bullet or because we just gave up tracking accurately? We had many track and trace issues at the height of the pandemic, so it stands to reason that we are not doing better now.

But as long as the hospitals are not overflowing, it is undoubtedly good news. Maybe we moved fast enough to get people vaccinated and boosted, which gave us good protection coverage. We have to continue like this to stay on the ball. But at the same time, we have to be open-minded about what we need to maintain and what we need to change.

I’ve heard of companies requiring teams to return to the office 100%, and I can’t help but wonder why such a move is needed so quickly. Most claim it’s for tax purposes and multinationals want to make sure they can keep their tax breaks. For this reason, they need their workforce back in the office.

While understandable, it’s a shame to think that we don’t allow or support innovative hybrid or remote work operations for tax purposes only. Shouldn’t we promote creative ways of working that are both beneficial for companies and boost the employee experience at the same time? Instead, we are too busy returning to the pre-global health crisis situation.

I hope people strive to be more forward-thinking. Business recovery is an essential part of economic recovery, but at the same time, we need to build business resilience. Many of us struggled at the start of the pandemic because we weren’t forward thinking, and we shouldn’t keep making the same mistakes. Moreover, we must do our best to maintain the state of mind that we had at the beginning of the confinements: to reduce our consumption and to try to live a more respectful life for the environment.

What we need to do is find new, efficient ways of working. Physical presence is important for many businesses, but we’ve also proven that working remotely can be just as effective, if not more so. With the rising cost of fuel and ever increasing fuel consumption and carbon emissions, we should be looking for ways to help people conserve and reduce their carbon footprint instead of making them consume more.

When the lockdowns started, we were all so worried about the shortage. For this reason, we have worked hard to reuse and be careful with consumption. In many ways during this time we saw the world was able to breathe again as we were all forced within. Fossil fuel emissions have been improved and there has been a small pause in the pressure humanity is causing the planet.

But now we are quickly returning to the way things were. Focused on deadlines, appointments, etc., forgetting that our consumption keeps increasing again. We still have to be very careful because we are in the 11th hour as far as the planet is concerned.

The world is heating up and we are all steadily contributing to the slow destruction of the Earth. Over the weekend, we saw that the Taal Volcano was active again. It was just another in a long line of natural disasters that keep happening to remind us of what will happen if we don’t correct our course, and soon.

In March, we celebrated Earth Hour. It’s a timely reminder that we all have a part to play in improving and saving the world. Resilience isn’t just for businesses. We also need to build environmental resilience. For at least an hour last weekend, we all turned off our lights and electronic gadgets in solidarity with everyone around the world. It’s a nice symbolic gesture, but it must be accompanied by actions if we really want to make a difference.

As we continue to find ways to live in the new normal available, let’s practice safety protocols and seek other ways to be efficient and environmentally responsible. We already know what we have to do. Let us all commit together to do so. Focus on reuse and recycling to reduce our consumption and improve our carbon footprint.

Let’s be proactive and stop waiting for things to get worse before taking action. You never know when it will be too late.

About Anne Wurtsbach

Check Also

Research on the extraction and use of rare earth elements should be part of the regular engineering program

Due to a low focus on research related to the extraction of …