Michael Dell Op-ed: There will never be a post-Covid world
It’s been two years since we first heard of Covid-19. I think many of us are wondering, where are we in the arc of the pandemic, what have we learned and where are we going. While some may feel like we’ve been running in place, I believe that we have in fact come a long way and learned a great deal. We are more resilient than ever. And it is time to allow ourselves to see a future full of possibilities once again, even if that future looks a little bit different.
We need to leave behind the notion of a post-Covid world. Covid is here to stay and will have an impact on the human race and our global society from now on. What that ultimately looks like, the balance we strike and our ability to manage it, we don’t know. But what we have been referring to as the new normal should now be considered as simply normal.
Vaccines are normal. They are part of our everyday lives and the best way for all of us to stay safe and be able to enjoy ourselves. The advances we’ve already made are incredible and we’ll see massive continuing innovation in this area, putting us in an infinitely better position to manage Covid on an ongoing basis and for the “next” pandemic. Vaccines aren’t perfect, but they allow us to make Covid a manageable, reasonable risk.
Masks are normal. Get used to them. There will be periods when we feel safe in our communities, but there will also be times when masks are an appropriate mitigating strategy. Certain jobs and activities may require a mask, others may not. There is no single, forever answer. We need to let our best judgement and the facts guide us to safety. And we have to take care of ourselves and each other to preserve our traditions and cherished ways of life.
Remote work, travel, entertainment and interaction are all normal. Our world is truly hybrid and sometimes ambiguous. We will not always be in charge of what we can do, when and where. There is no magic moment for when we return to the office or in-person events. There is a continuum of risk and reward, and that balance will move back and forth over time.
But, in all of this “normal,” exceptional things continue to happen. In just two years, we have accelerated digital transformation in a way we never imagined was possible in such a short time. These advances in collaboration and experiences are driving increased productivity and innovation, and we are reaping new benefits. For example, most Dell team members are finding better balance across every dimension of their lives. And as organizations work to address environmental impact and climate change, reducing physical facilities, employee commuting and travel have an enormous effect on carbon footprint. I’ve been talking to leaders and companies across the globe before and during the pandemic and many, like Dell, are using this as an opportunity to rethink their workforce and how they do business.
There is much more to do to ensure that all people and communities can be resilient in the face of continued change. We can prepare for what is next by learning from what we know. And what we know today is that we are a global society living with Covid for the long-term. That’s OK. We can grow, prosper, advance and achieve. The power of human inspiration and technology innovation are at full throttle and will continue to drive progress around the world. I am not by any means a utopian. I am an optimist and a realist. The facts are what they are. Our situation is what it is. Let’s embrace it and turn our normal into an exceptional future.
—By Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies
Missed this year’s CNBC’s At Work summit? Access the full sessions on demand at https://www.cnbcevents.com/worksummit/