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COVID-19ís Silver Lining

By Veronica Baxter

December 22 2020 - We have all heard the old saying "every cloud has a silver lining," meaning that an unfortunate event may have positive consequences.

The coronavirus pandemic is no different. While tragic in the loss of life, harm to businesses and our economy, and unemployment, it has been a boon to many companies and employees who have been able to adapt to quarantine and distance requirements.

This article will explore the upside to doing business remotely for companies, workers, their clients and customers, and others, and is from the office of a noted Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer.

Business is Forced to Do More with Less

Companies who have sent their employees home to work remotely out of necessity are discovering whether they can and should continue to do business this way after distancing restrictions are lifted.

Continuing to work entirely or partially remotely is natural for the so-called "knowledge workers" such as accountants, web designers, and SEOs. These types of companies and workers had probably invested in and mastered the technology and tools needed to do their job remotely prior to the pandemic.

It is the employers in industries who never would have considered doing business remotely who have been forced to adapt, scale back operations, or close entirely. Those who have adapted and/or scaled back may have furloughed or cut the hours of some employees or may have downsized their commercial space or let it go entirely.

This is unfortunate for those employees and commercial rental concerns, but a boon for those companies who have learned the lesson that they can and should operate much leaner. The survivors will come out of the pandemic stronger for having been forced to adapt.

There are Fewer Commuters

Those who used to commute to work and now work remotely save the time they used to drive, the money spent on fuel and tolls, and wear and tear to their vehicles. Those who used to take public transportation to the workplace save on that time and cost. Most believe this improves their quality of life, although those employees with families and children attending school virtually may be challenged.

The downside of fewer commuters is less demand for fuel and less revenue from public transportation and toll roads. The upside is that because there are fewer cars on the road, there are fewer greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in cleaner air.

Individuals successfully working from home may be reconsidering their choice to live in a more expensive area in order to be closer to work. The trend right now is to move from cities to the suburbs, and the housing market reflects this demand. The cost of living may decrease for those making this choice.

Companies in industries such as manufacturing and construction have adopted staggered schedules for employees so there are fewer coming in contact with one another and more space between them. After the days of the pandemic, the flexibility these companies have developed will serve both employers and employees well when emergencies arise, such as snowstorms, or an employee must stay home with a sick child.

There is no doubt that many of the positive lifestyle changes for employees brought about by COVID-19 will carry over once the threat has passed.

Virtual Healthcare is Available

Also called "telemedicine," virtual healthcare has become a necessity during the pandemic. Although technology advanced in recent years to provide the necessary security to protect the transmission of sensitive information over the web, insurance companies have balked at paying for virtual medical care. Now they must.

Telemedicine allows remote patient and clinician contact, assessment, care, reminders, education, and monitoring. Medicine and medical aids can be prescribed remotely and delivered to patients in their homes.

Physicians are not the only providers working with patients remotely. Psychiatrists and psychologists are meeting with their clients virtually. Physical therapists are working with their patients virtually. Even providers who cannot care for patients remotely, such as dentists, surgeons, chiropractors, and the like, take advantage of telemedicine for initial consultations and check-ups.

It is not just provider-patient contact that is being facilitated by technology, but provider-provider consultations, supervision, and presentations.

In short, the remote medical care that should have been widely available and paid for by health insurance years ago is now available and will likely remain so after the coronavirus threat has passed, due to its efficacy and provider and patient demand. Telemedicine will be especially valuable when rural settings, lack of transportation, or a patientís lack of mobility restrict access to in-person healthcare.

Considering the investment in technology and learning to use that technology, as well as the many upsides to changing the way we work and consume products and services, chances are good that many of the ways in which we have all had to adapt due to COVID-19 will remain in effect long after that threat has passed.

About the Author

Veronica Baxter

Veronica Baxter is a legal assistant and blogger living and working in the great city of Philadelphia. She frequently works with David Offen, Esq., a busy Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer.



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