The global pandemic has necessitated so many changes in our daily lives that it, sometimes, seems like nothing is as it was. While many of these changes seem like insurmountable problems, others have provided interesting opportunities. Wouldn’t you like to have been a toilet paper manufacturer these past few months?
I have talked to several people and relatives who have transitioned to working at home during the crisis. Surprisingly, most have told me that they actually like doing so, with more than a couple telling me that they think they are more productive because of fewer distractions from co-workers and the chance to get more sleep because they don’t have to drive to work (or shower, shave and get dressed). As a farmer, I’ve been working from home for the past 23 years, so there was no newness for me to experience.
With most schools shutting down last March, parents of school-aged children were able to experience their stint at home-schooling, and to quote one such parent, “It really wasn’t that bad.” As a result, many are considering homeschooling as a viable and permanent option. Since my wife and I homeschooled our two sons, before it was a fad, I was not surprised at these comments, either.
Since many restaurants and fast-food eateries were either closed or limited in their services, many people had to relearn to cook and eat at home, finding homemade meals, with a sit-down time with family, was actually a pretty nice change. In addition, the absence of school activities, coupled with no ballgames, ballet classes and music lessons, parents and grandparents were able to have evenings at home for several weeks. Again, since we live 10 miles from the nearest café, we rarely ate away from home before the pandemic, so we weren’t inconvenienced, in the least, when it came to meal time.
Shopping may have changed forever, as well. Even the most technologically illiterate person in the world (me) has discovered that I can order machinery parts, animal health supplies, work clothes, etc., with a simple click of the mouse and have the things I want delivered right to my door in a matter of a couple of days. It was so easy, I even ordered a few things I didn’t need, just because I could. After all, there is another stimulus check coming, right?
This can all be summed up by a phone conversation I had last week with an old friend who lives in rural Georgia. Randy works in sales for a major feed additive manufacturer in Texas and had been working from his home for a few weeks, completing the same job he’s been doing for years traveling all across the country every week. When I called, I asked how he and his wife were doing.
“Oh, we’re fine,” he began. “But, since this pandemic lockdown started, and I’ve got so much more time at home, I’m working during all my spare time widening the road down to my house.” (Randy lives about a half mile off the main road at the end of a winding, one-lane driveway through the woods).
“Why, would you do that?”
“With me and Cheryl at home all the time and ordering everything online, all the delivery trucks would have to veer into the grass and brush as they met each other, coming and going.”
Jerry Crownover is a farmer and former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University. He is a native of Baxter County, Arkansas, and an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’