A few days ago, I drafted a pretty somber take on the last year in lockdown. It recounted those early hectic days and the long slog of working from home.
Candidly, it was kind of depressing. Maybe I’ll post it one day here. But not now. (If you want a post from a year ago, I can give you that link.)
Vaccinations have a tendency to make you start to think about the future in ways that seemed only theoretical before. Why look back when right now, it’s never been better to look forward?
Don’t pop my balloon by telling me that the UK or NY or South Africa or Brazil variants are spreading. It’s a race with the vaccines and I’m going to remain optimistic that the vaccines are winning.
Over the weekend, the CDC posted eye-popping statistics showing the country doing nearly 3 million vaccines in one day. That’s over 1 percent of the eligible population.
You don’t need a math degree to understand that if this pace continues or even increases, we could be getting to widespread immunity (along with those who have already had COVID-19), sometime over the summer.
That means that employers will have a whole new set of issues to think about. Business travel, for example, is set to make a return. Not in same numbers as before, but in-person meetings, business golf trips, conferences and the like are going to return in some fashion. And maybe sooner than was previously thought.
And after that, in-person dining, cocktail hours, and the bad judgment tales that have historically accompanied such endeavors will also likely return.
For employment law lawyers, I’m still not quite sure what to make of 2021. Will litigation turn around and rise again? Will wage & hour claims continue to dominate? Will government agencies investigate and pursue safe workplace rules relating to COVID-19 when workforces return in person in droves? And how long will it take for the case backlog to work through the courts?
It’s hard to think that remote work is going to disappear. In fact, what this last year has demonstrated is that remote work can be terrific — when properly utilized. I’ve gotten used to making that pot of coffee at home in the morning, and not fighting with traffic as well.
But if I’m being honest, I miss those moments in my commute or travelling, when nothing is going on. Those times when I can collect my thoughts and just listen to music or a podcast. It’s a much needed respite.
One year in, I’m mostly grateful every day for my family that I’ve gotten to spend more time with than they are used to and for my work colleagues who have had to work extra time addressing client issues.
And I’m more optimistic that I’ve been in a long time that the future is looking brighter. The fog of this pandemic is starting to lift. It’s not over and heaven knows there are still far too many people who are refusing to get the vaccine for reason that I can’t quite grasp. But right now, it feels like the worst may be behind us.
Let’s all hope that it stays that way.