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Beyond Lockdown – what Coronavirus has taught us about the importance of connection, personally and professionally

As we counted down to 2020 last New Year’s Eve, few of us would have predicted the year ahead would unfold as it has. As we celebrated with friends and loved ones, singing songs, sending best wishes and popping champagne, we had no idea that the months ahead would incur a level of isolation the world has never seen before. We had no idea that the way we connect and interact with others, would change so drastically.

The Year We Will Never Forget

We are only half way through the year but 2020 has already established itself as a year we will never forget. Each of us has been impacted and each of us have felt the fear that accompanies what is unknown and unfamiliar. At a time when our need to connect with others has perhaps been at its greatest, we have been forced to stay home and isolate. We have been told to “keep our distance” even from those we love and work alongside. In some ways, the last 6 months have seemed like a dystopian movie script but what has happened is sadly not fiction, it is real life.

Adapting To Sudden Change

Change can topple emotions like dominoes and fear can trigger unrecognisable behaviour. The world has witnessed an avalanche of anger this year – from panic buying to extreme violence – acts, which further separate us and only exacerbate loneliness. Mental health issues have soared globally as have suicide rates, driven by debilitating conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression. Office workers have had to bid farewell to their teammates as the world suddenly shifted to remote working arrangements and the business landscape transformed. The era of social distancing has stunned us all. It has been a poignant reminder of what it is to be human and how crucial relationships are.

We Are All In This Together

As tragic as this time has been, it has shown us how rare and precious our ability to connect as humans is and how powerful that connection is within our lives, personally and professionally. Covid-19 has been a stimulant for human compassion. We have clapped for our carers and become more neighbourly. We have reached out to those who are experiencing loneliness, reconnecting with faraway family members and past friends. Businesses such as Coles and Amazon have recognised the efforts of their staff during the pandemic by increasing salaries and paying employees a ‘thank you’ bonus. We have coined the hashtag #weareallinthistogether and we truly are. It is ironic that being isolated has brought us closer together. It is profound that it has taken a global pandemic to teach us the true value of human connection. Who would have thought?

Maybe We Needed To Slow Down?

The impact of lockdown has given us all time to think about what is important to us. Many have admitted that the forced restrictions, which have slowed our lives down, have in many ways provided insight and enrichment. Families have been able to spend more time together. Colleagues have learnt how to interact in fun ways. Business owners have engaged more deeply with their clients and employees have enjoyed a reprieve from feeling micromanaged.

Businesses Have Shown Heart

Organisations have shown compassion to their employees. We have all developed a sense of empathy for one another and recognised that maybe it was time for us all to take our foot off the gas a little and take stock of what is really meaningful in our lives. We have learnt a great deal about values from this experience. Maybe we had all lost sight of how valuable our time on this earth is.

Creativity In A Crisis

Despite the harsh lockdown restrictions, people worldwide have found creative and unique ways to connect, pivot business and stay social. Video conferencing using Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or the like, has allowed people to stay in touch, network virtually and engage with colleagues, clients, friends and loved ones. Zoom’s daily users surged to 200 million in March, a dramatic rise from 10 million in December.

Needless to say, networking online has been absolutely thriving. The Pappyon crew have relished the chance to meet a greater number of people in business, many of whom we cannot wait to meet in person beyond lockdown! We sure have spent our fair share of time “zooming” and this is motivating us to work even harder to deliver Pappyon as a premiere digital networking solution for people in business. One that will enable attendees of virtual meetings and events to connect just as quickly and as easily as they would have, had they been meeting in person.

What Will The Future Hold?

Coronavirus turned the world on its axis, up rooting lives and demolishing businesses. People have suffered and entire industries have had to fight to survive. Resilience and agility have proven to be valuable possessions for humans and businesses in the face of disruption. Slowly but surely we are rebuilding a ‘new normal’ that will come equipped with a new sense of appreciation for our relationships and a drive for innovation in the business world.

On December 31st 2020, we will celebrate the coming of a new year again. We will sing, send best wishes and pop champagne, just as we always have done previously. This year however, we will look ahead with a new found wisdom and gratitude. Moments of crisis can provide opportunities for solidarity, entrepreneurship and innovation. There is excitement – despite the trepidation – about where we go from here. The future can once again be bright and it is this belief that has had the team at Pappyon commit to riding the ups and downs of 2020. We hope that as we keep working towards the moment we feel we can truly take flight, you will be doing the same, in business and in life overall.