This March marks one year since COVID-19 hit central Illinois. To say that we have experienced tremendous challenges over the past 12 months is quite the understatement. In this timely issue, which centers on the workplace, it would be impossible not to reflect on that impact—perhaps the most dramatic upheaval of our daily lives and habits as any other in history.
The challenges have run the gamut from remote working, business continuity and operational shifts; to navigating public health information and safety practices; to helping customers and employees alike manage their fears and anxiety, all while maintaining performance and productivity at a time of great emotional distraction. As workers return to the office—potentially reconfigured for the post-COVID era—the long-term emotional and psychological impacts remain unclear. What is clear is that we are exhausted.
Modern technology has kept us connected, allowing us to work and communicate remotely while remaining socially distant. Almost every business has had to expand its online presence to survive. From restaurants using QR codes to point customers to their menu, to the new “waiting rooms” outside of medical facilities—aka, sitting in our cars waiting for the text that allows us to enter—a certain amount of tech savvy is now mandatory. For some of us, navigating this world can be a challenge on its own.
The recent weeks have provided a glimpse into some of the downsides of our dependence on technology. My daughter, who manages a 400-plus apartment complex in downtown Dallas, experienced four days without heat or electricity, for example. Closer to home, natural gas bills in Morton skyrocketed as the electrical grid faced unprecedented demand.
We’ve had to endure a lot over the past year. Yet through this turmoil, we have proven once again the boundless possibilities of human creativity and ingenuity. “There really is no ‘business as usual’ anymore,” as Richard Mark of Ameren Illinois clearly stated. “We will adapt to the conditions we face and do whatever is necessary to meet the needs of our customers and employees.”
Since our inception over 30 years ago, Peoria Magazines has adapted many times as we shine a light on the best Peoria has to offer. In 2021, we are doing so again… with a little help from our friends. Read all about our new partnership with Discover Peoria on page 42. We couldn’t be more excited to press onward into our brand-new, post-pandemic future! PM