We left Easter behind, and the only topic everybody is talking about is: When will this situation be over? Are we allowed to start thinking of summer vacation already? When will we all return to our normal lives? Well, after 53 days of isolation, I am persuaded that our lives will not be the same for a long, long time.
Apart from the schools, a big pillar which will be missing for the coming months, my second main concern is about humanity and the way we are going to interact in the future.
Even though we are always busy with one video call after another to fill our days, we are not touching, hugging and kissing anyone who is not one of our family members living in the same house . Can you imagine how hard that is?
Did you get used already to keep social/physical distance, avoiding interacting with the person queuing in front of you at the supermarket?
Are you worried about people walking around without a face mask, that they might infect you? Are you suspicious about every door handle or elevator button when going outside your home?!
They say that Covid-19 is a democratic virus: It makes no difference whether you are rich or poor. However, if you live in a country house or in a bright, spacious apartment with a terrace or garden, then no doubt it is easier to face the lockdown, than when you are living in a two-room flat in the city with no balcony.
We all know that turning a behaviour into a habit takes time. The first 21 days are the most critical, but you need at least 66 days to acquire it thoroughly, so extending the protective lockdown measures will leave a mark in our lives.
The economy is suffering heavily from this uncertainty, and so is tourism. Will we have to queue to have a swim at the seaside this summer?
In the middle of all this distressing news, the beauty of nature continues as ever, regardless of the coronavirus. Streets in the cities are empty: With us humans locked at home, our cars parked and the streets quiet, nature is reclaiming its rights and animals are approaching. Curious, drawn to a new world, they walk through the empty streets, they swim near the ports where even the ships have stopped their activity. With no noise around them, many animals are now coming closer than ever to places they never came before.
Photos and videos are showing racoons running happily in downtown Florence; A group of hares has been spotted in Milan, together with ducks walking in an almost deserted central square. Ducks were also spotted having a bath in the famous “La Barcaccia” fountain in the centre of Rome, where wild boars and foxes are scavenging through the public parks wastebins. In Cagliari, Ancona and Trieste, groups of dolphins approach the port; The Venice laguna waters have never been so clean since ages. It is so clear that you can see right through it and count the fish if you like. Birds of all types and sizes are flying around and loudly singing everywhere, and pigeons are the undisputed rulers of all squares.
On a personal level each of us is experiencing different levels of difficulty, we all had to reschedule and redesign our way of working; Even in countries less affected by the coronavirus, everybody needs to face a new way to work and live.
Let me share something about my situation. Together with Selvaggia, my IMA member friend, we designed and prepared a training program tackling the Italian assistants needs; We managed to have an agreement with a school, we had useful and productive contacts through an Entrepreneur Association, and we were ready to launch. One week before our first class, the restrictive measures turned into total lockdown. Tough luck! Consequently my classroom trainings were suspended. Being a freelancer this means no income for the following months. Aargh!
So, what to do? What every assistant does: Reschedule and roll up your sleeves!
We as assistants are very skilled in rearranging plans and priorities. Were you efficient in changing the daily routines you had when you still worked in the office, or are you struggling to find new ones? If you have children at home as I have, did you manage to find a balance between working from home and your family needs? The answer in my case is somewhat..ish!
How many of you have found yourself reinventing the business?
After many evening brainstorming sessions, Selvaggia and I decided to start from what we already had and change our approach by using one of the modules of the program dealing with project and time management for assistants. Will it work? We will know shortly, fingers crossed!
The point is that this situation is here to stay for still quite some time. How you will make the difference will depend on your ability to react and reschedule your plans both on a professional and personal level.
Virtual hugs from Italy,
Michela Luoni, former NPRO IMA Italy
IMA member since 2013