It’s a full year since the global COVID-19 pandemic was announced. Most of us have made changes in our lives — or had those changes made for us. For organizations, that has often meant moving into digital space faster than planned. Churches are live-streaming their services, local restaurants have added delivery or curbside pickup, and healthcare professionals have leapt into telemedicine years before they expected to do so.
Right now, about 17% of Americans have been vaccinated. The guidance from the Centers for Disease Control tell us that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, and we should still avoid gatherings, wear masks, and keep six feet between us and people who don’t live in our homes.
At the same time, the American Psychological Association tells us that the pandemic has led 23% of us to drink more alcohol in order to cope with stress, 53% of us to be less active than we wanted to, 61% to unwanted weight changes (an average of 29 pounds gained), and 76% of us aren’t sleeping well. More than 500,000 Americans have died, yet many of us have pandemic fatigue and Zoom burnout that is beginning for many to seem worse than the pandemic itself.
Are you ready to give up pandemic restrictions, open your doors, and scale back virtual communication? It’s true that consumers are feeling frustrated with having to do everything online and they want direct human connections.
But this is a genie you probably can’t put back in the bottle. “We’ve put too much time and money into it to give it up after the pandemic ends,” said one client.
What’s more, you’ve made connections that you might not want to give up. One religious organization told their members, “Too many church leaders will step into the past as they step back into their buildings. Although we feel under-resourced and unbudgeted, giving your online ministry, website, and social media a single line in a job description is a mistake. At least it is if you want to build a future.”
You could apply this to your restaurant, gym, or wearable health device company, too. Now that you’ve reached people with streaming yoga classes, curbside pickup, and e-commerce, they won’t want to give up those privileges. No mater how excited they are to see you again in real life.
Extending your virtual presence as you open your doors will be the best choice.
A strategy for moving forward will be your best investment.