As the snow melts, the birds begin to chirp and we tentatively open our windows, spring reminds us that time is moving forward, despite how hard the ongoing global pandemic is trying to make it seem otherwise. In fact, it’s been a whole year since the Parkway team packed up our desks and headed to our dining rooms, basements and guest bedrooms for what we thought might be a month or two. While there are many, many things we’re looking forward to—personally and professionally—when we can safely gather again, we’re also grateful for the unexpected bright spots of the last year.
Everyone at Parkway sat down on their own to think about what good emerged from a year of quarantine. We each experienced the last year a little differently based on our families, our living situations, our health, and so many other factors. However, the things we’re grateful for are remarkably similar.
We Slowed Down
After the initial shock of a global pandemic wore off, we all took a collective deep breath. Modern life, especially in an industry that changes as quickly as digital marketing does, moves really fast. It wasn’t until our calendars were clear that we realized just how busy we had been—physically and mentally. We got comfortable being bored. We realized just how important some of the things we miss when we’re caught up in the daily grind really are.
Without weekend trips, happy hours or even doctors’ appointments, we had time to enjoy pastimes we already knew we loved but rarely had time for. We cooked, we hiked, we renovated; the list goes on. For the music lovers among us, there were new albums and virtual performances. Others focused on self-care, with a renewed focus on healthy eating, physical fitness and emotional wellbeing.
We Adapted to Change
COVID reminded us that as much as we like to micromanage, most things are out of our control. Last March, our lives were turned upside down, from how we work, to how we communicate, to how we buy paper products. We were forced to change very quickly and it wasn’t all bad. Through it, we learned that while we can’t control everything, we can be prepared, go with the flow, and shrug off of as much as our brains will let us.
Buffalo businesses quickly adapted to new regulations and guidelines, reinventing their products, services and processes for the COVID era. At Parkway, we overcame challenges, grew our team and helped our clients pivot. We honestly worked harder than we ever have before in order to adapt the Parkway experience to the realities of 2020.
The ways we communicate and celebrate changed too. Of course, we all downloaded Zoom and Google Duo and Skype for hours-long calls with family and friends. Some of us celebrated Christmas outdoors around a firepit. Others recreated a sense of normalcy with a rekindled love for The Sims, a world where you could still live life untouched by COVID, even if just for a little while.
This change wasn’t easy but we did it, all within a matter of weeks. With this realization, the ability to make big changes for the better seems closer than it ever has before.
We Prioritized Relationships
Throughout this challenging year, we leaned on partners, friends, family and coworkers for support, safety, joy and hope. The thought of moving through the last year without these people is overwhelming. Our slower pace allowed us to connect more deeply with the people we love while also forcing us to realize how much we took them for granted.
We kept in touch with friends using Zoom, we scheduled virtual family gatherings, and we called our parents and grandparents. All of us at Parkway also know how lucky we are to have a team we can lean on when we feel like can’t possibly make it through one more day of working from home during a global pandemic.
When you’re moving through life at breakneck speed, it can be hard to really see the people around you. When COVID forced us all to slow down and face change head-on, we also had time to recognize the challenges we all experience.
While COVID is a very real health threat for everyone, some of us are more susceptible than others. We’re grateful to the community at large for putting their masks on and standing six feet apart with a smile so that we can all enjoy a walk around the neighborhood or takeout from a great restaurant. We reckoned with the lived experiences of BIPOC communities, taking to the streets to demand justice within our city and around the country.
Over the course of the year, we also empathized in everyday ways, learning to laugh off technology mishaps like bad connections and unfamiliarity with Google Meets.