The new normal is coming. Here is what it will look like.

If the vaccination timeline under which we Americans are living continues, we likely will return to norm…no, wait, there is no returning to the old normal after the pandemic.

We can pretend what was will be again, and we would be kidding ourselves. Many of the pieces of our lives post-coronavirus are not coming back.

Good.

The new normal will include

-an expectation that when people are sick, they will wear a mask. There will be no stigma and no shame to be masked in public, even though the anti-mask crowd will continue to babble on about individual freedoms. Let them; each time they open their mouths is one more time they sound obnoxious and ignorant.

-a plan to allow more people to work from home more often, and a commitment to let them work from home when they are ill. The long-past-its-expiration-date idea that you were not working unless you were in the office has been eliminated. The benefits to our health and to our productivity from, among other things, not sitting in traffic are now obvious.

-frequent use of video chats to replace the face-to-face meeting. Hopping onto a video meeting platform to take care of items big and small will be common. And imagine how many fewer emails we will deal with as a result of actually talking to people.

-more professional conferences and gatherings offered online. Some events will be exclusively online, while others will allow people to join either in-person or virtually. Individuals and organizations will save thousands of dollars in travel costs, and they will avoid that dreaded travel day there and travel day back experience.

-an increase in online educational opportunity. This type of education might not be for everyone, but it works. It will require colleges and universities to think hard about establishing a different price point for such classes and programs because some of the expenses associated with education are not as costly with remote instruction.

-more awareness of how interconnected our world is. While this might seem illogical on this list, consider seriously how many people could not grasp how a virus could alter the entire world for well over a year. Yes, what happens here, no matter where here is, affects people there, there and there.

-heightened awareness of the need for improving health conditions all over the globe. If this is to happen, then constant communication between governments and international health agencies must be evident.

-an acknowledgment of the need for flexibility in all we do. Adjusting travel plans, for example, should forever more not include financial penalties.

This list is at the macro level, and that is by intent. How each of us recognizes how our lives have changed over the past year is up to us. So, too, is how we choose to live in the new normal.

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