Observation Deck

Being Social in the New Normal

The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to adopt a set of new phrases and behaviors into our daily lives, but we can still do things to strengthen our lasting relationships with patients, caregivers, referrals, coworkers and all the people in our lives.

Way back in early March, right as Medtrade West was wrapping up, everyone thought we were really going to be in for a rough week. The top concerns: things like Daylight Savings, losing an hour of sleep, and the approach of Friday the 13th.

Wow! We had no idea what was in store for us.

Daily, we have repeatedly heard the phrase “new normal” and wondered, what will that normal be like? Everything new starts with some awkwardness, and surely these past weeks has been awkward. We have no idea where this is heading, but we must put our trust in those that lead our nation, state, local government, industry, business, and even family.

How about from this Observation Deck we find some motivation and even inspiration?

We have also heard things like “social distancing,” “mitigation,” and “containment.” With your permission, let’s look at these three words but from a different perspective. This by no means is to minimize the importance of these three words and what we all must do to help each other as a nation and a people.

Social Distancing 

Social distancing is defined as maintaining a greater than usual physical distance from other people. Man, I don’t know about you, but I have been hoping for this for decades, as some people have no idea or concept of personal space! Finally, we have a reason to tell them, “not so close, please.” (Just kidding!)

We must avoid and not fall prey to what social distancing can do to us as people. We (for the most part) love to engage and encounter others. We are social beings. The distance of six feet is fine and good, but we cannot let it become a wedge between what we were created to have, and that is fellowship and community.

Can you imagine what we would be like going through this without social media, cell phones, and Facetime? Have you seen the countless images and videos of people standing outside of the nursing home where their loved ones reside, and they either pull up a chair outside or stand by the window and talk by phone? That’s terrific social distancing. We all get the distancing and have to love the social part of this.

We must stay engaged and feed our human need for encounters. Now is the time to call friends, family and even family that you have not spoken to for a while. Just call someone because you can. If you are one of the millions of people who find themselves working remotely, call others on the team, just like you would stop by their desk and catch up. Be social and respect the distance.


Mitigation is another word that has crept into our vocabulary; defined as the action of reducing severity and pain. For where we are with COVID-19, this makes complete sense. All indications suggest that mitigation has begun to have a positive impact.

We can also mitigate pain and severity in the lives of those around us. For those that have been impacted by this virus, let’s Mitigate someone’s pain today by calling in a take-out order from one of your local restaurants. Call and make sure you know their process for handling food and use your best judgment on pick-up and delivery. Also, can you shop for a senior or a friend? How about writing a letter to someone in a nursing home or sending an email?

I am sure they have taken some precautionary measures regarding mail to our senior centers, LTCFs and ALFs. What level of pain can we help take away or mitigate by our words of encouragement through a simple note or text? Just thank someone who is on the front lines doing their job to selflessly serve others through this period. Did you know that the average American will receive seven fewer personalized pieces of mail per year, and that includes birthday and holiday cards?


Containment is the act of keeping something harmful under control. And under containment, we have the chance to cease the harmful practice of letting things distract us from what is really important. We are all guilty of this. With no sports, no eating out, no club sports, no noise, we have all started to focus more on the important things. I mean the truly important aspects of life like friends, family and each other.

We are playing more board games with our kids, talking more to our spouses or significant others, engaging in more conversation with friends, maybe even watching less TV. For those of you now Home Schooling, how many homework assignments have you helped your children with? How many family bike rides and walks have you taken? We should use containment in a way that helps us prevent being distracted by the noise that has pulled at our time, and devote that time to what truly matters.

Let’s Define the Moment

See? There are other ways to use social distancing, mitigation, and containment to help us all navigate through these unprecedented times.

My friends, this is a dot in the continuum of our lives. It is so very sad to hear of all those that have been infected and those that have died because of this virus. We need to pray for those that are infected and the families who have lost loved ones. We need to also pray for all those who are on the front lines serving unselfishly. For all of you who are in the home medical equipment and complex rehabilitation industry, we need to thank the nurses, PAs nurse practitioners, doctors, and lab technicians and countless others.

Remember, this too shall pass. For our country, our families, our businesses, and us as individuals, this can be viewed as a moment that defines us. I would rather make this a chance to define the moment. A moment that our children, grandchildren, friends, family, and coworkers and even complete strangers will feel the full impact of our caring, love and service. And that history will record as tragic, but with testimonies of countless acts of love and kindness.

It would be a shame if, when we come out of this, that we go back to Normal. No one is happy about the virus, but it may just be what helps us move toward a new normal. Awkward at the beginning, but a blessing long-term. So, please stay safe, serve others, and be social.

About the Author

Ty Bello, RCC is the president and founder of Team@Work LLC, which offers more than 50 years’ combined experience in assessing, developing, and coaching sole proprietorships, sales teams, C-suite executives, individuals and teams in a variety of industry settings. Bello is an author, communicator and registered coach, and can be reached at ty@teamatworkcoaching.com for sales, customer call center, and management coaching needs. Please like Ty on LinkedIn and visit www.teamatworkcoaching.com for more information and join The Coaches Corner at teamatworkcoaching.com/coaches-corner.

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