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        “從那之后,我再也沒回過辦公室”

        “從那之后,我再也沒回過辦公室”

         Rachel Schallom  and Fortune Staff 2021年03月20日
        被困在原地的一年,我們的得到與失去

        距離《財富》雜志宣布美國和歐洲員工居家辦公,已過去整整一年?;厥兹ツ晖ㄖ蛹肄k公的郵件,仿佛在看時間膠囊一般。去年此時人們都在強調清潔和消毒,如今回頭看才知道,光靠消毒對抗疫情其實是在浪費時間和資源。

        商務旅行紛紛取消,公司還提供了關于居家辦公的培訓。最值得注意的是,起初宣布辦公室關閉的時間僅為一周:“下周我們將重新評估是否有必要延長臨時居家政策,并通報最新情況?!?/font>

        然而,從那之后我再也沒回過辦公室.

        疫情以前所未有的速度改變著世界的方方面面。似乎一夜之間,原本古怪的生活方式(比如穿著緊身褲跟客戶在Zoom上開視頻會議)都變得很正常。

        與此同時,朋友、家人、同事和社區的生活也出現重大變化,而且這種影響可能是長時間的。經歷了全球性疫情之后,人們的工作、飲食習慣、育兒,甚至集體時間觀念都發生了巨變。

        《財富》雜志的15位員工報道了生活中一些最明顯的變化,其中有一條肯定沒錯,在經歷了如此突然的大混亂之后,幾乎沒人不受影響。

        未來一年對世界的重建和改造也要牢記一個事實:滿懷同情和理解可以幫人們變得更強大。

        居家辦公

        插圖:Veronica Cerri

        在過去一年中,Zoom視頻會議轟炸,口罩行業暴利,還有視頻瑜伽課,各種信息接踵而至,在疫情造成的諸多變化中或許沒有比居家辦公影響更深遠的事了。

        疫情中全球各地的公司被迫關閉辦公室,有的甚至是提前一天才通知。很多人搬離了公寓,選擇更便宜或更安靜的地方。不少公司直接將總部挪了地方。

        剛開始一段時間,居家的人們感覺從日常壓力中解脫。原本忙碌不堪的城市再沒出現交通堵塞。

        對公司來說,水電和經營成本方面也節省了大量資金,還一度認為昂貴的辦公室其實也沒什么必要,即便沒有實體辦公地點,業務似乎也能運轉良好。

        現在一年過去,辦公室生活可能再也不會像以前一樣了。

        其實,能居家辦公在一定程度上已經算是高端職業了。如今在街上就能明顯發現,遠程工作的人和無法居家辦公的人群,比如交通、醫療或零售業員工之間出現了鴻溝。

        隨著辦公室關閉,餐廳和午餐飯店的大量工作人員、清潔工等人統統失業。斯坦福大學經濟學家尼古拉斯·布魯姆稱之為“引爆不平等現象的定時炸彈”。

        盡管種種混亂現象令人痛苦,但多數遠程辦公的人們表示,疫情最終結束時,希望能選擇工作地點,很多人更希望能將辦公室和居家靈活結合。這是巨大的轉變,企業可能得花多年才能解決。

        是的,企業可節省數百萬美元的水電費和租金。同時還促進了工作效率,減少不必要的會議或長途通勤花費的時間。

        但如果居家辦公一直持續下去,損失可能同樣巨大。剛進入職場的人們居家辦公很難保證效率。研究表明,面對面交流對激發新創意至關重要。Gmail、谷歌新聞和街景都源于谷歌總部免費午間大餐上的閑聊。

        即使辦公室重新開放,方便人們面對面工作,很多人也認為辦公環境需要大調整,要有無接觸電梯,還有間距較遠的辦公艙。

        到最后這些可能是最簡單的部分,最難的是企業如何適應全新的居家辦公時代。

        ——薇薇安·沃特

        時間觀念扭曲

        去年3月英國疫情爆發時,利物浦約翰摩爾大學助理教授露絲·奧格登正在休產假,在家照顧剛出生的小女兒和另外兩個孩子。由于只能待在家,條件也有限,每一天都感覺無比漫長。

        奧格登主要研究人類對時間的感知,她想知道是否每個人都有這種感覺?所以她做了研究。結果顯示并不是所有人都跟奧格登感覺類似,在604名受訪者中,多數表示全國封鎖期間感覺時間有所扭曲。

        疫情期間對時間產生奇怪的感覺并不出奇,在過去一年里人們經常忘記今夕何夕,還有人表示,每天的生活很像電影《土撥鼠之日》(男主角發現每天自己都困在一天之內,每天醒來之后都在重復昨天的生活?!g者注)。這種描述并不算夸張。

        去年疫情的突然來襲顛覆了正常生活,也基本上將人們與例行的日常程序和活動徹底隔絕,包括工作、學校、約會、社交、體育活動、儀式、旅行,還有一些計劃和期待的事等等。

        奧格登解釋說,生活中沒有特定日子后,往往變得一片模糊。

        對于疫情期間能居家辦公的人們來說,由于工作和家庭之間的界限崩塌,工作日更加靈活,時間扭曲的感覺也更復雜。

        如果沒法真正離開虛擬辦公室,那工作日究竟是何時開始,又何時結束?

        當然,早在幾十年前,科技就已然開始侵蝕工作和家庭之間的界限,員工也分為喜歡劃清邊界的“細分者”和更靈活的“綜合者”。不過賓夕法尼亞大學沃頓商學院管理學教授南?!ち_斯巴德等專家表示,疫情導致趨勢加劇。

        研究表明,遠程辦公者工作量增加。哈佛商學院的研究團隊分析了全球約310萬名員工的會議和郵件大數據,發現疫情期間工作日平均延長了48.5分鐘。微軟抽樣調查時發現,員工在晚上、午餐和周末,也經常需要工作。

        不過奧格登也表示,疫情期間人們的生活方式也更加個人化。

        根據她的研究,而且是從英國第二次封鎖中得到了類似的結果,大約40%的受訪者感覺時間比平常慢一些。而另外40%的人則感覺過得更快。

        奧格登發現,差異主要歸結于幾個因素。對于忙忙碌碌,對社交活動很滿意而且沒有壓力的人來說,時間過得很快。而對于孤獨、無聊、感覺焦慮和抑郁的人來說,時間過得很慢。

        不管經歷如何,疫情帶來的影響會是長期的影響嗎?專家預計,工作日會比以前更靈活,至少一段時間內,人們可能更珍惜自己的時間,對于時間的利用也會更小心。

        “我們意識到,一年的時間相當重要,”拉瓦爾大學心理學教授,也是《感知時間:你的問題有答案》一書作者西蒙·格羅丁表示。

        不過諷刺的是,他認為隨著時間流逝,人們珍惜時間的感覺會逐漸消失。

        ——艾瑞卡·弗賴伊

        健身方式

        疫情初期,稀缺的不只是衛生紙。對常年泡在健身房的人們來說,用不上啞鈴,還有苦苦等待Peloton動感單車和跑步機送貨,充分體現了疫情期間健身文化的巨變。

        地區封鎖后,健身中心和精品舞蹈、杠鈴和瑜伽工作室紛紛關門。有些地區甚至連戶外運動都受限制。就像疫情時代的眾多其他方面一樣,突然之間健身也變成了家庭活動,業余運動員們紛紛把地下室、車庫或公寓角落改造成個人健身空間。

        然而類似轉變對實體健身房來說著實是個壞消息,曾經熱鬧非凡的健身房都開始為生存掙扎。眾多商家紛紛關門停業。

        疫情對家庭健身器材制造商來說則是巨大的好消息。最近一個財年,由于Peloton公司的動感單車聯網設備和按需應用,銷售額翻了一番達到18億美元。最近一個季度,聯網用戶數達167萬,應用用戶數62.5萬,比之前一年分別增長了134%和472%。

        Hydrow的劃船機售價每臺2200美元,公司稱疫情期間銷售額猛增了400%,6月還籌集到新一輪2500萬美元資金以擴大消費者直銷業務。

        健身服裝零售商Lululemon斥資5億美元收購了壁掛式屏幕制造商Mirror,方便向用戶提供健身服務,也是篤定即便疫情緩解,健身家庭化趨勢仍會持續火爆。

        不過疫情期間為了滿足運動需求,高端運動器材背后也有低端技術的替代品。Zoom上就有一位很受歡迎的教練,上視頻瑜伽課時用裝滿書的背包當負重練深蹲,還有人在6米長的后院里獨自跑馬拉松。

        全世界都渴望疫情消退,希望生活回歸“正?!?,不過居家健身的趨勢可能比限流規定和保持社交距離的習慣更持久。

        去年12月“新消費者”和Coefficient Capital聯合發布的調查發現,疫情期間76%的消費者轉而在家鍛煉身體,66%的人表示更喜歡在家健身。健身課和擁擠的舉重室里能培養的友誼,都可以靠科技重現,如今在家鍛煉又很便利,也沒那么多借口翹課。

        ——克萊爾·齊爾曼

        再次感謝一線工作者

        插圖:Veronica Cerri

        隔離期間,人們大多需要依靠餐館員工和送貨員的服務。

        通過加州大學舊金山分校的一項新研究,可以更深入了解這些默默無聞的工作者的生活狀態。結果表明,疫情期間死亡風險最高的是廚師,而不是醫護人員。

        研究結果與大量數據基本一致,即便沒有疫情肆虐,在美國做與人密切接觸的基礎工作不僅身心受困,還要面臨巨大的危險。

        廚工、倉庫工人、公交車司機、保管員、商店職員,還有其他從事類似工作的人,通常住在擁擠不堪的房子里。至于福利,例如資本市場、教育和醫療保健等往往遙不可及。這群人主要包括黑人、棕色人種、農村居民或移民。未來幾年里,很多工作都可能被自動化取代?,F在隨著社區整體遭受經濟損失,人們在疫情后的處境堪憂。

        麥肯錫的研究顯示,諸多非裔美國家庭面臨巨大的貧富差距,美國白人家庭的財富中位數達到黑人家庭中位數的10倍之多,而且這一差距可能永遠無法縮小。

        如何對一線人員表達感恩?有些新做法就是不錯的開始,比如對外賣小哥和快遞小哥給予更多的包容。

        但如果疫情后任由這些人變回默默無名的螺絲釘,那將是社會無法承受的錯誤?,F在需要重新啟動系統,向一線員工提供再培訓或“技能提升”,從而應對數字化和自動化的未來,這還只是一部分。

        感恩意味著清醒看待一線員工經常面臨的真正障礙:薪酬待遇、移民改革、育兒、經濟型貸款和失業保險等。是時候確保一線員工的利益了。

        畢竟,如果沒有他們,人們還如何生活?

        ——埃倫·麥吉爾特

        疫情短缺紀實

        對美國消費者來說,在過去一年中短缺現象一個接一個。去年3月,隨著全美各地政府實施封鎖,消費者擔心物資匱乏,于是人們紛紛在恐慌中,大量囤積各種必需品,尤其是衛生紙。(后來一度導致坐浴盆緊缺。)

        人們在得知接觸所有物體表面之前都要消毒之后,去年春天Clorox濕巾成了最熱門的產品。2021年初也一樣,該公司認為濕巾供應要到年中才能恢復正常。

        最初的混亂之后,人們意識到雜貨店和倉儲超市里的必需品并不會短缺,便開始關注于打發時間。

        到了5月,美國自行車店里已經沒有低端品牌,想買杠鈴也找不到了。運動與健身行業協會表示,2020年至少騎一次公路自行車的美國人數量同比增加了14%。

        夏天一到,戶外家具迅速緊俏。

        之后在接下來一個月里,購物者不得不面對另一個問題,很多商店要求要么準確支付零錢,要么使用電子支付,硬幣很難找。

        消費者的麻煩還不算完。

        8月,由于美國人瘋狂燒烤,很多商店的木炭賣空。夏季一結束,消費者還得面對3月零售商和服裝制造商恐慌之中取消訂單造成的影響,當時商家擔心幾個月后商品可能大量積壓。結果從Crocs洞洞鞋到運動服飾安德瑪,商店里空空如也。

        轉眼到了10月,家庭健身熱潮中動感單車Peloton的訂單已堆積如山,只得收購了一家制造商增加產量。

        去年11月,餐館和屋主們拼命搶購露臺取暖器。一個月后,隨著戶外運動熱潮持續,滑雪板和雪地鞋被搶購一空。(今年1月則變成越野滑雪板全賣光。)

        今年2月也是疫情后第12個月,一種并不是由消費者直接購買的,但對各種行動都很關鍵的一種產品出現了短缺,就是硅芯片。芯片短缺導致美國汽車工廠關閉,消費類電子產品發貨推遲,還有其他諸多領域,充分證明了即便病毒得到遏制,疫情的影響也仍會持續。

        ——王波非

        職場父母要考慮很多問題

        數十年來,職場父母面臨的挑戰很直接,如何找到負擔得起的托兒服務?怎樣接送孩子上下學?工作和家庭生活上的時間如何平衡?

        疫情持續一年后,職場父母的顧慮變得沒那么明確??紤]的因素越來越多,包括考慮日托會不會影響健康,以及如何應付孩子上網課和居家辦公。對于仍然要上下班的父母來說,情況更為復雜。

        如今唯一確定的是,當父母比以前更艱難,尤其是對女性來說,因為疫情中媽媽承擔的壓力顯著增加。

        外界確實提供了一些幫助。有些公司放寬政策為在職父母提供便利,或者提供額外福利,比如免費托兒支持或再就業培訓,讓以往必須前往一線上班,而如今要照顧孩子的員工遠程工作。

        與此同時,美國最新的疫情救濟方案也將獲得拜登總統批準,其中包括為托兒機構提供4000萬美元,并將兒童稅收抵免擴大到每個兒童3000美元,其中6歲以下兒童稅收抵免力度更大。

        不管具體情況怎樣,未來幾個月甚至幾年內,職場父母,尤其是被迫離開工作崗位的母親,都可能感受到疫情對家庭和事業的影響。

        ——艾瑪·??死?/font>

        食欲變化

        插圖:Veronica Cerri

        去年春天病毒席卷全球之際,有個趨勢愈發明顯,即全球各國在食物問題上反應基本相同。從哥倫比亞到保加利亞,到處都有餐館和酒店關門,昂貴的特色菜不見蹤跡,很多人囤積豆類和其他主食。

        根據美國農業部對外農業服務局的報告,以前依賴外賣和餐館的人,幾乎足不出戶在家做飯(尤其是烤面包),還開始選擇既能維持生存又熟悉的經濟型食品。

        其中一些習慣改變的主要推動因素是疫情導致的食物短缺和囤積恐懼。一年后,相關擔心已基本上消失。在大多數地區,糧食運輸延誤只是暫時現象。不過人們的飲食方式已發生改變,而且可能長期繼續。

        第一個變化是全世界糧食不安全感加深,疫情擴大了能否獲得與能否負擔得起營養食品的人們之間本就存在的鴻溝。聯合國糧食及農業組織估計,僅在2020年全球營養不良人口就增加了8300萬人到1.32億人之間。

        同時,人們淘汰精加工美食,改為健康飲食。美國農業部最新報告指出,從泰國到俄羅斯再到薩爾瓦多,對健康的全麥食品需求激增,特別是公認能增強免疫系統的食品,主要因為人們改為自己做飯,也希望健康食品能抵御疾病。富裕國家對有機食品的需求急劇增加。

        不過很多家庭因為受到疫情帶來的經濟壓力,做好節省膳食開支的規劃,這也意味著減少沖動購買食物。

        最后,食品巨頭可能會發現新趨勢,從約旦到希臘再到美國,在線商城購物和送貨前所未有地激增,人們吃飯或購物的行為習慣可能會永久性改變。

        ——凱瑟琳·鄧恩

        曝光不平等

        過去一年新冠疫情對人類生活和經濟造成了毀滅性影響。但這種影響既不均衡也不公平,因為某些社區受到的破壞比其他地方更嚴重,一些群體財富富余甚至會增加,而其他一些群體財富卻在萎縮。女性、少數民族和窮人遭受的痛苦更為嚴重,因為病毒暴露且加劇了先前就已存在的衛生、經濟安全和福利差距,美國結構性不平等的狀況格外凸顯。

        影響不均最明顯之處可從不同社區的死亡率中體現。在美國,每1000名白人中有1.2人死于新冠病毒,而每1000名西班牙人中有1.5人死亡,每1000名黑人和美國原住民有1.7人死亡。死亡比例差距反映了美國人獲得醫療服務方面的巨大差距,以及有色人種從事一線工作請病假也更加困難的現實。

        由于越來越多女性和有色人種在服務業工作,而相關行業受疫情沖擊更嚴重,失業也存在種族和性別差異。對于沒接受過高等教育,或者因為要照顧子女或老年人沒法朝九晚五的人們來說,服務性工作通常是最好的選擇,甚至是唯一選擇。這場疫情恰恰暴露了與白領和工薪階層相比,服務型崗位是多么不安全。

        疫情封鎖后減少的崗位中,約60%涉及女性。更多女性不得不留在家里放棄工作,照顧封校的孩子,經濟損失估計達3410億美元。

        從去年1月到6月,黑人員工失業率翻了一番,多達到15%,而白人員工最高失業率僅為9%。美國勞工統計局數據顯示,到2020年底,黑人失業率仍保持在10%,而白人失業率不到6%。經濟政策研究所數據顯示,一定程度上因為只有20%的黑人員工可以居家辦公,白人員工有30%,而亞裔員工達37%。

        該差距也導致諸多后續經濟效應。2月份,五分之一黑人家庭宣稱食物不足,相比之下食物出現問題的拉美家庭和白人家庭分別為18%和8%。

        另一項針對拖欠房租的調查顯示,截至今年2月,29%的黑人租客、22%的拉丁裔租客和13%的白人租客承認付房租有困難。

        雖然所有學生都因課時減少和缺乏面對面學習經歷受到影響,學校因疫情關閉對有色人種的打擊也更嚴重。麥肯錫一項分析顯示,根據去年在25個州的評估,學生掌握的數學和閱讀知識能達到正常年份67%和87%。在有色人種學生為主的學校,數學和閱讀成績分別為正常年份的59%和77%。相關數據和其他很多數據點一樣,暴露了疫情之中社會對弱勢成員的關懷不足。

        ——亞倫·普萊斯曼

        遠程學習

        轉向遠程學習對傳統學校教育、弱勢學生以及家長職業和心理健康來說都是災難。不過也有證據表明,在家學習也讓很多孩子受益匪淺,這會讓人反思家長平時如何教育和照顧孩子。

        疫情之前和之后的各種研究都發現,在線遠程學習根本無法取代課堂體驗。缺乏人際互動和社交參與似乎會損害知識記憶,其中年紀小的孩子適應能力最差。

        跟疫情諸多影響一樣,受創最深的還是窮人、少數族裔和女性。美國20%的學生沒有電腦,甚至沒有接受遠程教育的網絡連接,這種情況主要集中在低收入家庭。

        耶魯大學經濟學家估計,由于學校關閉一年,美國最貧困社區里九年級學生可能失去25%的未來收入,而家境前20%的學生則不會遭受嚴重影響。

        由于缺乏資源和公共支持,有色人種學生在停工期間,學習進度比白人學生慢一倍。面臨心理健康問題和存在特殊需要的兒童基本失去了學校系統提供的結構化的實際支持。超過50萬的職場母親因為育兒壓力增加離開勞動力市場,這一數字遠比離職的父親要多。

        然而,疫情期間的居家教育可能也提供了一線希望,而且不僅針對富裕家庭的孩子。近幾十年來,兒童和青少年焦慮、抑郁和自殺激增。雖然人們非常關注社交媒體在這一趨勢中的作用,而實際上,這種情況早在Instagram出現之前就已出現。

        許多專家認為,罪魁禍首是兒童和青少年日益嚴格和忙碌的生活。有個指標非常令人不安,根據2018年范德比爾特大學對兒童醫院入院情況的分析,在校期間有自殺念頭的年輕人和自殺未遂人數均出現激增。

        這或許可以解釋,為何非政府組織在學校停課初期進行的橫向調查發現,遠離傳統學校限制后,孩子自稱平靜、獨立和責任感水平均有所提高,大多數家長表示孩子不去學校很快樂。

        牛津大學正在進行中的一項研究發現,同一時期孤獨感的水平升高,不過封鎖之后的數據很少,因此對孩子的全面影響尚未可知。

        但如果等式積極的一面成立,可能會推動長期的新觀念產生,在“校外教育”和“自由放養”的旗幟下給孩子更多時間,不受監督地玩游戲和自覺學習。

        倡導者表示,該方法有助于培養兒童自力更生并開發創意,從疫情來看,相關素質對終身成功至關重要。

        ——大衛·Z·莫里斯

        重新擁抱大自然

        插圖:Veronica Cerri

        有時人們需要疫情的牽絆,才能靜下來欣賞一下自家后院。

        2020年病毒肆虐期間,國際旅行變得不可能,“隔離”和“社交距離”等術語進入日??谡Z,數百萬美國人只得將旅行改為戶外活動。

        人們涌向公園和公共場所。國家公園管理局的數據顯示,雖然全國游客數量實際下降了28%,主要原因是疫情導致閉園和限流??側藬挡⑽捶从吵鋈匀婚_放的公園里游客激增。

        根據非營利環保組織Trust for Public Land最新發布的報告,從賓夕法尼亞州到太平洋西北部,多地官員都報告稱公園游客數量急劇上升。夏天人尤其多。

        2020年8月,大提頓國家公園參觀人數接近歷史最高紀錄。7月黃石國家公園游客數量也比去年同期增長了2%,不過沒有滿負荷。

        “隨著全國各地電影院、餐館、酒吧和商店紛紛關門,公園變成人們走出家門解悶唯一相對安全的場所,”信托基金戰略和創新負責人琳達·黃在報告中寫道。

        危機時期美國重新親近大自然并不是新現象。該趨勢與上一次嚴重疫情期間非常類似。

        1920年,西班牙流感在美國的致命影響消退時,美國人也蜂擁去黃石公園。據Quartz報道,當年乘火車和汽車前往觀光的游客分別比之前一年分別增加了42%和21%。

        多年來研究表明,多花時間參加戶外活動大有益處。根據醫學雜志《柳葉刀》最近研究,前往綠色空間“意味著更多體育互動,心理更健康,睡眠質量更高,壓力水平更低,認知能力增加,也能更快康復?!?/font>

        換句話說,逛公園與健康有一定關系。正如國家公園管理局副局長肖恩·本格在一份新聞稿中提到,受保護的土地“為人們提供了離家不遠”就能改善“身心”健康的機會。

        所以,隔離數月之后,新鮮空氣越發甜美。

        ——安德魯·馬奎德

        職場女性成批“陣亡”

        才不到一年時間,美國職業女性辛苦30多年爭取來的進步已然被抹煞。

        自2020年2月以來,已有230多萬女性離開美國勞動力市場,回到了1988年的水平。女性,尤其是有色人種女性原本就是經濟上最脆弱的群體,還承擔了疫情期間失業的打擊,占去年美國失業人數的53%以上。

        如今,美國總統約翰·拜登和副總統卡瑪拉·哈里斯已認識到,職業女性就業危機已成為“全國性緊急情況”。

        疫情導致學校、托兒所和女性勞動力主要從事的服務型企業關閉,這也是引發危機的導火索。根本原因包括:美國普遍缺乏廉價托兒服務;職場父母沒有育兒帶薪假期;雇主一直未縮小薪水的性別和種族差距;男性普遍不愿意承擔無薪的家庭工作負擔,而且這種情況已持續很長時間。

        “讓所有人都回家暴露了性別不平等的創傷,”美國人口普查局首席經濟學家米思提·海格奈斯表示。

        治愈創傷需要徹底改革政策,拜登在提出的經濟刺激方案中就提到了一些。要想真正實現,就需要雇主持續努力,不管是現在,還是疫情結束后,都要改變招聘、晉升、發薪和回聘女性的方式。

        “疫情揭示了很多藏在表面之下的事實,”Verizon的首席人力資源官克里斯蒂·潘比安基表示,“每年增加幾天帶薪假期,并不能解決規模如此龐大的問題?!?/font>

        ——瑪利亞·阿斯潘

        心理健康危機

        在關于超級英雄的節目中,有句臺詞準確描述了集體創傷時刻:“悲痛,不就是愛的延續?”

        這并不是全新概念。畢竟,悲傷的本質就是失去所愛的感覺。不過,迪士尼節目《旺達幻視》中一段簡單對話,卻真正觸及了疫情中深入人們靈魂的感受。

        過去一年里,美國人一直深感孤獨而且壓力巨大,還普遍陷入了怪圈:“9·11也是創傷,但過段時間就結束了。這次創傷仍在持續,生活也發生翻天覆地的變化,”哥倫比亞大學復雜悲傷中心的創始主任凱瑟琳·謝爾博士說。這對全美應對心理健康危機,以及行業應對危機的方式都會造成廣泛的影響。

        在過去一年,最大的變化是專注心理健康的遠程醫療行業增長。截至2020年底也就是疫情真正開始9個月后,虛擬和基于文本的心理健康服務使用率都出現飆升。

        Ginger等初創公司的利用率與疫情之前相比出現大幅飆升,根據虛擬精神病護理就診類型的不同,增長率在150%到300%之間。

        蘭德公司智囊團一項研究發現,由于疫情期間親自前往醫院很不安全,在求助虛擬醫療服務的人里,有54%希望解決精神層面的問題,而不是身體本身出了毛病。

        這些只是很小的案例。其他業務,例如IBM軟件部門Red Hat等紛紛緊急任命首席執行官并部署相關措施,解決全民隔離時代員工的焦慮和抑郁情緒。

        盡管精神健康問題無處不在,但它通常都被放在各項疾病后面。疫情暴露了精神健康問題,也為創新型公司提供了出頭的機會。盡管在病毒的陰影下,業務和需求都可能保持增長,底層社區以及沒有高速互聯網的社區仍然很落后。

        如果真希望精神保健可持續發展,不僅要消除恥辱感,還要破除影響人們尋求必要治療的結構障礙。

        ——錫·穆克吉

        大學校園經歷的損失

        插圖:Veronica Cerri

        如果讓畢業生找出大學經歷中最珍視的部分,答案應該幾乎都跟課程內容無關。通常最讓人銘記于心的是人際關系,和后來成為終身朋友的同學、教授、隊友、教練、導師等人的關系,還有親身經歷。

        然而疫情使得人際關系出現了倒退。北卡羅來納州中央大學大四學生珍妮·戴維斯在接受校園節目“在線回音”時說:“就是不一樣了?!?/font>

        今年春天,許多學校都在努力提供面對面上課機會,結果卻與傳統的大學生活相差甚遠,主要是由于嚴格的限制。舉例來說,弗吉尼亞大學除了上課、吃飯、獨自鍛煉或接受病毒檢測,都禁止離開宿舍。

        有些大學食堂只開放外賣。由于病例激增,新罕布什爾大學、密歇根大學、克拉克森大學等多所學校本學期只提供數天或數周的網課。

        賓夕法尼亞州一名大三學生告訴《時代周刊》:“感覺只是在看視頻,不像在上課?!?/font>

        除此之外,體育賽季紛紛被縮短甚至取消。12月份的美國十大聯盟的俄亥俄州立大學與西北大學比賽場面相當超現實和悲慘,容納7萬人的體育場里,觀眾只有球員家屬和工作人員。

        對于社交控的一代來說,這可能是最糟糕的情況。他們擔心錯過的恐懼成真了,而且他們確實錯過了大學最有意思的部分。很多學生和家長都對此感到很憤怒。

        BryanCave LeightonPaissner律師事務所聲稱,學校已收到257宗集體訴訟,該事務所負責為大學辯護。雖然學校的做法迫不得已,學生還是堅持應該部分退款。

        在某些案例中,學校根據合同法細節進行了有效的辯護,然而事實是學生的主張沒錯。學生花錢卻沒有享受應有的大學生活,而且看不到希望。這簡直太糟了。

        ——葛繼甫

        TikTok大爆發

        TikTok既是疫情中的英雄也是受益方,封鎖期間該應用為全世界數億人提供了急需的聯系和娛樂,也在用戶數和收入方面獲得了巨大收益。僅在2020年,該應用就吸引了1.81億用戶,成為當年下載量最多的應用,其中一季度全球各地剛開始封鎖時下載量最大。

        去年TikTok上受歡迎的視頻多種多樣,包括了模仿居家辦公表現最差的同事、對于疫情期間消失的積極氛圍的感嘆,還有那些永遠受人關注又不可描述的片段。

        除了偶爾的阻礙,去年堪稱TikTok相當輝煌的一年。特朗普宣布可能對該應用發布禁令時,從Z世代到幾乎每代人都在表達反抗。

        根據App Annie的數據,雖然疫情期間幾乎所有應用的用戶使用時間都有所增加,但TikTok在美國的同比增長率達到325%,甚至超過了Facebook。

        去年,美國TikTok用戶平均每月使用21.5小時,而Facebook用戶平均每月使用時間為17.7小時。

        隨著新冠疫苗的推出,人們可能會走出隔離,減少在社交媒體上花的時間,不過預計2021年TikTok仍會保持增長。2020年,TikTok是全球下載量最大的應用,在全球消費者支出中排名第二,僅次于Tinder。

        Hootsuite發布的《2021年社會趨勢》報告顯示,今年只有14%的營銷商計劃在TikTok上增加廣告支出,說明雖然應用的文化持續增長,變現仍然面臨挑戰。

        ——麥肯納·摩爾

        疫情分層

        去年春天的第一次封鎖開始時,除了聯邦政府認定為“一線員工”的人,很多人都要居家隔離。醫護人員、雜貨店員、送貨司機、公交員工,還有一些沒法完全居家生活的人們受到病毒傳播的嚴重影響。

        居家辦公者和戶外工作者之間出現分裂,而且明顯存在階層(以及種族和性別)界線,割裂格外明顯。

        疫情期間,階層分界標志越發清晰。有遠程辦公階層和現場工作階層;遠程辦公的人員中,也分為擁有可靠互聯網和穩定家庭環境的人和沒條件的人。

        Zoom和其他視頻應用暴露了美國人的家庭狀況,同齡人通過觀察彼此住在大公寓還是小房間里就很容易判斷。疫情初期,新冠病毒檢測還很稀罕時,檢測也能區分階層,有錢人和名人可以接受測試,還有無法檢測的階層。

        去年4月,社會分為有能力支付房租的人,以及三分之一無力付房租的人。

        此外還有在職與創歷史紀錄的失業者之間的分別,而且失業者大部分是女性。

        全球范圍內貧富差距擴大。富裕國家一直在搶購疫苗,發展中國家在疫苗接種方面面臨落后的風險。一些專家表示,排在最后一批的國家可能要等到2024年才能接種疫苗。

        ——凱倫·袁

        譯者:馮豐

        審校:夏林

        編輯:徐曉彤

        距離《財富》雜志宣布美國和歐洲員工居家辦公,已過去整整一年?;厥兹ツ晖ㄖ蛹肄k公的郵件,仿佛在看時間膠囊一般。去年此時人們都在強調清潔和消毒,如今回頭看才知道,光靠消毒對抗疫情其實是在浪費時間和資源。

        商務旅行紛紛取消,公司還提供了關于居家辦公的培訓。最值得注意的是,起初宣布辦公室關閉的時間僅為一周:“下周我們將重新評估是否有必要延長臨時居家政策,并通報最新情況?!?/font>

        然而,從那之后我再也沒回過辦公室.

        疫情以前所未有的速度改變著世界的方方面面。似乎一夜之間,原本古怪的生活方式(比如穿著緊身褲跟客戶在Zoom上開視頻會議)都變得很正常。

        與此同時,朋友、家人、同事和社區的生活也出現重大變化,而且這種影響可能是長時間的。經歷了全球性疫情之后,人們的工作、飲食習慣、育兒,甚至集體時間觀念都發生了巨變。

        《財富》雜志的15位員工報道了生活中一些最明顯的變化,其中有一條肯定沒錯,在經歷了如此突然的大混亂之后,幾乎沒人不受影響。

        未來一年對世界的重建和改造也要牢記一個事實:滿懷同情和理解可以幫人們變得更強大。

        居家辦公

        在過去一年中,Zoom視頻會議轟炸,口罩行業暴利,還有視頻瑜伽課,各種信息接踵而至,在疫情造成的諸多變化中或許沒有比居家辦公影響更深遠的事了。

        疫情中全球各地的公司被迫關閉辦公室,有的甚至是提前一天才通知。很多人搬離了公寓,選擇更便宜或更安靜的地方。不少公司直接將總部挪了地方。

        剛開始一段時間,居家的人們感覺從日常壓力中解脫。原本忙碌不堪的城市再沒出現交通堵塞。

        對公司來說,水電和經營成本方面也節省了大量資金,還一度認為昂貴的辦公室其實也沒什么必要,即便沒有實體辦公地點,業務似乎也能運轉良好。

        現在一年過去,辦公室生活可能再也不會像以前一樣了。

        其實,能居家辦公在一定程度上已經算是高端職業了。如今在街上就能明顯發現,遠程工作的人和無法居家辦公的人群,比如交通、醫療或零售業員工之間出現了鴻溝。

        隨著辦公室關閉,餐廳和午餐飯店的大量工作人員、清潔工等人統統失業。斯坦福大學經濟學家尼古拉斯·布魯姆稱之為“引爆不平等現象的定時炸彈”。

        盡管種種混亂現象令人痛苦,但多數遠程辦公的人們表示,疫情最終結束時,希望能選擇工作地點,很多人更希望能將辦公室和居家靈活結合。這是巨大的轉變,企業可能得花多年才能解決。

        是的,企業可節省數百萬美元的水電費和租金。同時還促進了工作效率,減少不必要的會議或長途通勤花費的時間。

        但如果居家辦公一直持續下去,損失可能同樣巨大。剛進入職場的人們居家辦公很難保證效率。研究表明,面對面交流對激發新創意至關重要。Gmail、谷歌新聞和街景都源于谷歌總部免費午間大餐上的閑聊。

        即使辦公室重新開放,方便人們面對面工作,很多人也認為辦公環境需要大調整,要有無接觸電梯,還有間距較遠的辦公艙。

        到最后這些可能是最簡單的部分,最難的是企業如何適應全新的居家辦公時代。

        ——薇薇安·沃特

        時間觀念扭曲

        去年3月英國疫情爆發時,利物浦約翰摩爾大學助理教授露絲·奧格登正在休產假,在家照顧剛出生的小女兒和另外兩個孩子。由于只能待在家,條件也有限,每一天都感覺無比漫長。

        奧格登主要研究人類對時間的感知,她想知道是否每個人都有這種感覺?所以她做了研究。結果顯示并不是所有人都跟奧格登感覺類似,在604名受訪者中,多數表示全國封鎖期間感覺時間有所扭曲。

        疫情期間對時間產生奇怪的感覺并不出奇,在過去一年里人們經常忘記今夕何夕,還有人表示,每天的生活很像電影《土撥鼠之日》(男主角發現每天自己都困在一天之內,每天醒來之后都在重復昨天的生活?!g者注)。這種描述并不算夸張。

        去年疫情的突然來襲顛覆了正常生活,也基本上將人們與例行的日常程序和活動徹底隔絕,包括工作、學校、約會、社交、體育活動、儀式、旅行,還有一些計劃和期待的事等等。

        奧格登解釋說,生活中沒有特定日子后,往往變得一片模糊。

        對于疫情期間能居家辦公的人們來說,由于工作和家庭之間的界限崩塌,工作日更加靈活,時間扭曲的感覺也更復雜。

        如果沒法真正離開虛擬辦公室,那工作日究竟是何時開始,又何時結束?

        當然,早在幾十年前,科技就已然開始侵蝕工作和家庭之間的界限,員工也分為喜歡劃清邊界的“細分者”和更靈活的“綜合者”。不過賓夕法尼亞大學沃頓商學院管理學教授南?!ち_斯巴德等專家表示,疫情導致趨勢加劇。

        研究表明,遠程辦公者工作量增加。哈佛商學院的研究團隊分析了全球約310萬名員工的會議和郵件大數據,發現疫情期間工作日平均延長了48.5分鐘。微軟抽樣調查時發現,員工在晚上、午餐和周末,也經常需要工作。

        不過奧格登也表示,疫情期間人們的生活方式也更加個人化。

        根據她的研究,而且是從英國第二次封鎖中得到了類似的結果,大約40%的受訪者感覺時間比平常慢一些。而另外40%的人則感覺過得更快。

        奧格登發現,差異主要歸結于幾個因素。對于忙忙碌碌,對社交活動很滿意而且沒有壓力的人來說,時間過得很快。而對于孤獨、無聊、感覺焦慮和抑郁的人來說,時間過得很慢。

        不管經歷如何,疫情帶來的影響會是長期的影響嗎?專家預計,工作日會比以前更靈活,至少一段時間內,人們可能更珍惜自己的時間,對于時間的利用也會更小心。

        “我們意識到,一年的時間相當重要,”拉瓦爾大學心理學教授,也是《感知時間:你的問題有答案》一書作者西蒙·格羅丁表示。

        不過諷刺的是,他認為隨著時間流逝,人們珍惜時間的感覺會逐漸消失。

        ——艾瑞卡·弗賴伊

        健身方式

        疫情初期,稀缺的不只是衛生紙。對常年泡在健身房的人們來說,用不上啞鈴,還有苦苦等待Peloton動感單車和跑步機送貨,充分體現了疫情期間健身文化的巨變。

        地區封鎖后,健身中心和精品舞蹈、杠鈴和瑜伽工作室紛紛關門。有些地區甚至連戶外運動都受限制。就像疫情時代的眾多其他方面一樣,突然之間健身也變成了家庭活動,業余運動員們紛紛把地下室、車庫或公寓角落改造成個人健身空間。

        然而類似轉變對實體健身房來說著實是個壞消息,曾經熱鬧非凡的健身房都開始為生存掙扎。眾多商家紛紛關門停業。

        疫情對家庭健身器材制造商來說則是巨大的好消息。最近一個財年,由于Peloton公司的動感單車聯網設備和按需應用,銷售額翻了一番達到18億美元。最近一個季度,聯網用戶數達167萬,應用用戶數62.5萬,比之前一年分別增長了134%和472%。

        Hydrow的劃船機售價每臺2200美元,公司稱疫情期間銷售額猛增了400%,6月還籌集到新一輪2500萬美元資金以擴大消費者直銷業務。

        健身服裝零售商Lululemon斥資5億美元收購了壁掛式屏幕制造商Mirror,方便向用戶提供健身服務,也是篤定即便疫情緩解,健身家庭化趨勢仍會持續火爆。

        不過疫情期間為了滿足運動需求,高端運動器材背后也有低端技術的替代品。Zoom上就有一位很受歡迎的教練,上視頻瑜伽課時用裝滿書的背包當負重練深蹲,還有人在6米長的后院里獨自跑馬拉松。

        全世界都渴望疫情消退,希望生活回歸“正?!?,不過居家健身的趨勢可能比限流規定和保持社交距離的習慣更持久。

        去年12月“新消費者”和Coefficient Capital聯合發布的調查發現,疫情期間76%的消費者轉而在家鍛煉身體,66%的人表示更喜歡在家健身。健身課和擁擠的舉重室里能培養的友誼,都可以靠科技重現,如今在家鍛煉又很便利,也沒那么多借口翹課。

        ——克萊爾·齊爾曼

        再次感謝一線工作者

        隔離期間,人們大多需要依靠餐館員工和送貨員的服務。

        通過加州大學舊金山分校的一項新研究,可以更深入了解這些默默無聞的工作者的生活狀態。結果表明,疫情期間死亡風險最高的是廚師,而不是醫護人員。

        研究結果與大量數據基本一致,即便沒有疫情肆虐,在美國做與人密切接觸的基礎工作不僅身心受困,還要面臨巨大的危險。

        廚工、倉庫工人、公交車司機、保管員、商店職員,還有其他從事類似工作的人,通常住在擁擠不堪的房子里。至于福利,例如資本市場、教育和醫療保健等往往遙不可及。這群人主要包括黑人、棕色人種、農村居民或移民。未來幾年里,很多工作都可能被自動化取代?,F在隨著社區整體遭受經濟損失,人們在疫情后的處境堪憂。

        麥肯錫的研究顯示,諸多非裔美國家庭面臨巨大的貧富差距,美國白人家庭的財富中位數達到黑人家庭中位數的10倍之多,而且這一差距可能永遠無法縮小。

        如何對一線人員表達感恩?有些新做法就是不錯的開始,比如對外賣小哥和快遞小哥給予更多的包容。

        但如果疫情后任由這些人變回默默無名的螺絲釘,那將是社會無法承受的錯誤?,F在需要重新啟動系統,向一線員工提供再培訓或“技能提升”,從而應對數字化和自動化的未來,這還只是一部分。

        感恩意味著清醒看待一線員工經常面臨的真正障礙:薪酬待遇、移民改革、育兒、經濟型貸款和失業保險等。是時候確保一線員工的利益了。

        畢竟,如果沒有他們,人們還如何生活?

        ——埃倫·麥吉爾特

        疫情短缺紀實

        對美國消費者來說,在過去一年中短缺現象一個接一個。去年3月,隨著全美各地政府實施封鎖,消費者擔心物資匱乏,于是人們紛紛在恐慌中,大量囤積各種必需品,尤其是衛生紙。(后來一度導致坐浴盆緊缺。)

        人們在得知接觸所有物體表面之前都要消毒之后,去年春天Clorox濕巾成了最熱門的產品。2021年初也一樣,該公司認為濕巾供應要到年中才能恢復正常。

        最初的混亂之后,人們意識到雜貨店和倉儲超市里的必需品并不會短缺,便開始關注于打發時間。

        到了5月,美國自行車店里已經沒有低端品牌,想買杠鈴也找不到了。運動與健身行業協會表示,2020年至少騎一次公路自行車的美國人數量同比增加了14%。

        夏天一到,戶外家具迅速緊俏。

        之后在接下來一個月里,購物者不得不面對另一個問題,很多商店要求要么準確支付零錢,要么使用電子支付,硬幣很難找。

        消費者的麻煩還不算完。

        8月,由于美國人瘋狂燒烤,很多商店的木炭賣空。夏季一結束,消費者還得面對3月零售商和服裝制造商恐慌之中取消訂單造成的影響,當時商家擔心幾個月后商品可能大量積壓。結果從Crocs洞洞鞋到運動服飾安德瑪,商店里空空如也。

        轉眼到了10月,家庭健身熱潮中動感單車Peloton的訂單已堆積如山,只得收購了一家制造商增加產量。

        去年11月,餐館和屋主們拼命搶購露臺取暖器。一個月后,隨著戶外運動熱潮持續,滑雪板和雪地鞋被搶購一空。(今年1月則變成越野滑雪板全賣光。)

        今年2月也是疫情后第12個月,一種并不是由消費者直接購買的,但對各種行動都很關鍵的一種產品出現了短缺,就是硅芯片。芯片短缺導致美國汽車工廠關閉,消費類電子產品發貨推遲,還有其他諸多領域,充分證明了即便病毒得到遏制,疫情的影響也仍會持續。

        ——王波非

        職場父母要考慮很多問題

        數十年來,職場父母面臨的挑戰很直接,如何找到負擔得起的托兒服務?怎樣接送孩子上下學?工作和家庭生活上的時間如何平衡?

        疫情持續一年后,職場父母的顧慮變得沒那么明確??紤]的因素越來越多,包括考慮日托會不會影響健康,以及如何應付孩子上網課和居家辦公。對于仍然要上下班的父母來說,情況更為復雜。

        如今唯一確定的是,當父母比以前更艱難,尤其是對女性來說,因為疫情中媽媽承擔的壓力顯著增加。

        外界確實提供了一些幫助。有些公司放寬政策為在職父母提供便利,或者提供額外福利,比如免費托兒支持或再就業培訓,讓以往必須前往一線上班,而如今要照顧孩子的員工遠程工作。

        與此同時,美國最新的疫情救濟方案也將獲得拜登總統批準,其中包括為托兒機構提供4000萬美元,并將兒童稅收抵免擴大到每個兒童3000美元,其中6歲以下兒童稅收抵免力度更大。

        不管具體情況怎樣,未來幾個月甚至幾年內,職場父母,尤其是被迫離開工作崗位的母親,都可能感受到疫情對家庭和事業的影響。

        ——艾瑪·??死?/p>

        食欲變化

        去年春天病毒席卷全球之際,有個趨勢愈發明顯,即全球各國在食物問題上反應基本相同。從哥倫比亞到保加利亞,到處都有餐館和酒店關門,昂貴的特色菜不見蹤跡,很多人囤積豆類和其他主食。

        根據美國農業部對外農業服務局的報告,以前依賴外賣和餐館的人,幾乎足不出戶在家做飯(尤其是烤面包),還開始選擇既能維持生存又熟悉的經濟型食品。

        其中一些習慣改變的主要推動因素是疫情導致的食物短缺和囤積恐懼。一年后,相關擔心已基本上消失。在大多數地區,糧食運輸延誤只是暫時現象。不過人們的飲食方式已發生改變,而且可能長期繼續。

        第一個變化是全世界糧食不安全感加深,疫情擴大了能否獲得與能否負擔得起營養食品的人們之間本就存在的鴻溝。聯合國糧食及農業組織估計,僅在2020年全球營養不良人口就增加了8300萬人到1.32億人之間。

        同時,人們淘汰精加工美食,改為健康飲食。美國農業部最新報告指出,從泰國到俄羅斯再到薩爾瓦多,對健康的全麥食品需求激增,特別是公認能增強免疫系統的食品,主要因為人們改為自己做飯,也希望健康食品能抵御疾病。富裕國家對有機食品的需求急劇增加。

        不過很多家庭因為受到疫情帶來的經濟壓力,做好節省膳食開支的規劃,這也意味著減少沖動購買食物。

        最后,食品巨頭可能會發現新趨勢,從約旦到希臘再到美國,在線商城購物和送貨前所未有地激增,人們吃飯或購物的行為習慣可能會永久性改變。

        ——凱瑟琳·鄧恩

        曝光不平等

        過去一年新冠疫情對人類生活和經濟造成了毀滅性影響。但這種影響既不均衡也不公平,因為某些社區受到的破壞比其他地方更嚴重,一些群體財富富余甚至會增加,而其他一些群體財富卻在萎縮。女性、少數民族和窮人遭受的痛苦更為嚴重,因為病毒暴露且加劇了先前就已存在的衛生、經濟安全和福利差距,美國結構性不平等的狀況格外凸顯。

        影響不均最明顯之處可從不同社區的死亡率中體現。在美國,每1000名白人中有1.2人死于新冠病毒,而每1000名西班牙人中有1.5人死亡,每1000名黑人和美國原住民有1.7人死亡。死亡比例差距反映了美國人獲得醫療服務方面的巨大差距,以及有色人種從事一線工作請病假也更加困難的現實。

        由于越來越多女性和有色人種在服務業工作,而相關行業受疫情沖擊更嚴重,失業也存在種族和性別差異。對于沒接受過高等教育,或者因為要照顧子女或老年人沒法朝九晚五的人們來說,服務性工作通常是最好的選擇,甚至是唯一選擇。這場疫情恰恰暴露了與白領和工薪階層相比,服務型崗位是多么不安全。

        在疫情封鎖后減少的崗位中,約60%涉及女性。更多女性不得不留在家里放棄工作,照顧封校的孩子,經濟損失估計達3410億美元。

        從去年1月到6月,黑人員工失業率翻了一番,多達到15%,而白人員工最高失業率僅為9%。美國勞工統計局數據顯示,到2020年底,黑人失業率仍保持在10%,而白人失業率不到6%。經濟政策研究所數據顯示,一定程度上因為只有20%的黑人員工可以居家辦公,白人員工有30%,而亞裔員工達37%。

        該差距也導致諸多后續經濟效應。2月份,五分之一黑人家庭宣稱食物不足,相比之下食物出現問題的拉美家庭和白人家庭分別為18%和8%。

        另一項針對拖欠房租的調查顯示,截至今年2月,29%的黑人租客、22%的拉丁裔租客和13%的白人租客承認付房租有困難。

        雖然所有學生都因課時減少和缺乏面對面學習經歷受到影響,學校因疫情關閉對有色人種的打擊也更嚴重。麥肯錫一項分析顯示,根據去年在25個州的評估,學生掌握的數學和閱讀知識能達到正常年份67%和87%。在有色人種學生為主的學校,數學和閱讀成績分別為正常年份的59%和77%。相關數據和其他很多數據點一樣,暴露了疫情之中社會對弱勢成員的關懷不足。

        ——亞倫·普萊斯曼

        遠程學習

        轉向遠程學習對傳統學校教育、弱勢學生以及家長職業和心理健康來說都是災難。不過也有證據表明,在家學習也讓很多孩子受益匪淺,這會讓人反思家長平時如何教育和照顧孩子。

        疫情之前和之后的各種研究都發現,在線遠程學習根本無法取代課堂體驗。缺乏人際互動和社交參與似乎會損害知識記憶,其中年紀小的孩子適應能力最差。

        跟疫情諸多影響一樣,受創最深的還是窮人、少數族裔和女性。美國20%的學生沒有電腦,甚至沒有接受遠程教育的網絡連接,這種情況主要集中在低收入家庭。

        耶魯大學經濟學家估計,由于學校關閉一年,美國最貧困社區里九年級學生可能失去25%的未來收入,而家境前20%的學生則不會遭受嚴重影響。

        由于缺乏資源和公共支持,有色人種學生在停工期間,學習進度比白人學生慢一倍。面臨心理健康問題和存在特殊需要的兒童基本失去了學校系統提供的結構化的實際支持。超過50萬的職場母親因為育兒壓力增加離開勞動力市場,這一數字遠比離職的父親要多。

        然而,疫情期間的居家教育可能也提供了一線希望,而且不僅針對富裕家庭的孩子。近幾十年來,兒童和青少年焦慮、抑郁和自殺激增。雖然人們非常關注社交媒體在這一趨勢中的作用,而實際上,這種情況早在Instagram出現之前就已出現。

        許多專家認為,罪魁禍首是兒童和青少年日益嚴格和忙碌的生活。有個指標非常令人不安,根據2018年范德比爾特大學對兒童醫院入院情況的分析,在校期間有自殺念頭的年輕人和自殺未遂人數均出現激增。

        這或許可以解釋,為何非政府組織在學校停課初期進行的橫向調查發現,遠離傳統學校限制后,孩子自稱平靜、獨立和責任感水平均有所提高,大多數家長表示孩子不去學校很快樂。

        牛津大學正在進行中的一項研究發現,同一時期孤獨感的水平升高,不過封鎖之后的數據很少,因此對孩子的全面影響尚未可知。

        但如果等式積極的一面成立,可能會推動長期的新觀念產生,在“校外教育”和“自由放養”的旗幟下給孩子更多時間,不受監督地玩游戲和自覺學習。

        倡導者表示,該方法有助于培養兒童自力更生并開發創意,從疫情來看,相關素質對終身成功至關重要。

        ——大衛·Z·莫里斯

        重新擁抱大自然

        有時人們需要疫情的牽絆,才能靜下來欣賞一下自家后院。

        2020年病毒肆虐期間,國際旅行變得不可能,“隔離”和“社交距離”等術語進入日??谡Z,數百萬美國人只得將旅行改為戶外活動。

        人們涌向公園和公共場所。國家公園管理局的數據顯示,雖然全國游客數量實際下降了28%,主要原因是疫情導致閉園和限流??側藬挡⑽捶从吵鋈匀婚_放的公園里游客激增。

        根據非營利環保組織Trust for Public Land最新發布的報告,從賓夕法尼亞州到太平洋西北部,多地官員都報告稱公園游客數量急劇上升。夏天人尤其多。

        2020年8月,大提頓國家公園參觀人數接近歷史最高紀錄。7月黃石國家公園游客數量也比去年同期增長了2%,不過沒有滿負荷。

        “隨著全國各地電影院、餐館、酒吧和商店紛紛關門,公園變成人們走出家門解悶唯一相對安全的場所,”信托基金戰略和創新負責人琳達·黃在報告中寫道。

        危機時期美國重新親近大自然并不是新現象。該趨勢與上一次嚴重疫情期間非常類似。

        1920年,西班牙流感在美國的致命影響消退時,美國人也蜂擁去黃石公園。據Quartz報道,當年乘火車和汽車前往觀光的游客分別比之前一年分別增加了42%和21%。

        多年來研究表明,多花時間參加戶外活動大有益處。根據醫學雜志《柳葉刀》最近研究,前往綠色空間“意味著更多體育互動,心理更健康,睡眠質量更高,壓力水平更低,認知能力增加,也能更快康復?!?/p>

        換句話說,逛公園與健康有一定關系。正如國家公園管理局副局長肖恩·本格在一份新聞稿中提到,受保護的土地“為人們提供了離家不遠”就能改善“身心”健康的機會。

        所以,隔離數月之后,新鮮空氣越發甜美。

        ——安德魯·馬奎德

        職場女性成批“陣亡”

        才不到一年時間,美國職業女性辛苦30多年爭取來的進步已然被抹煞。

        自2020年2月以來,已有230多萬女性離開美國勞動力市場,回到了1988年的水平。女性,尤其是有色人種女性原本就是經濟上最脆弱的群體,還承擔了疫情期間失業的打擊,占去年美國失業人數的53%以上。

        如今,美國總統約翰·拜登和副總統卡瑪拉·哈里斯已認識到,職業女性就業危機已成為“全國性緊急情況”。

        疫情導致學校、托兒所和女性勞動力主要從事的服務型企業關閉,這也是引發危機的導火索。根本原因包括:美國普遍缺乏廉價托兒服務;職場父母沒有育兒帶薪假期;雇主一直未縮小薪水的性別和種族差距;男性普遍不愿意承擔無薪的家庭工作負擔,而且這種情況已持續很長時間。

        “讓所有人都回家暴露了性別不平等的創傷,”美國人口普查局首席經濟學家米思提·海格奈斯表示。

        治愈創傷需要徹底改革政策,拜登在提出的經濟刺激方案中就提到了一些。要想真正實現,就需要雇主持續努力,不管是現在,還是疫情結束后,都要改變招聘、晉升、發薪和回聘女性的方式。

        “疫情揭示了很多藏在表面之下的事實,”Verizon的首席人力資源官克里斯蒂·潘比安基表示,“每年增加幾天帶薪假期,并不能解決規模如此龐大的問題?!?/p>

        ——瑪利亞·阿斯潘

        心理健康危機

        在關于超級英雄的節目中,有句臺詞準確描述了集體創傷時刻:“悲痛,不就是愛的延續?”

        這并不是全新概念。畢竟,悲傷的本質就是失去所愛的感覺。不過,迪士尼節目《旺達幻視》中一段簡單對話,卻真正觸及了疫情中深入人們靈魂的感受。

        過去一年里,美國人一直深感孤獨而且壓力巨大,還普遍陷入了怪圈:“9·11也是創傷,但過段時間就結束了。這次創傷仍在持續,生活也發生翻天覆地的變化,”哥倫比亞大學復雜悲傷中心的創始主任凱瑟琳·謝爾博士說。這對全美應對心理健康危機,以及行業應對危機的方式都會造成廣泛的影響。

        在過去一年,最大的變化是專注心理健康的遠程醫療行業增長。截至2020年底也就是疫情真正開始9個月后,虛擬和基于文本的心理健康服務使用率都出現飆升。

        Ginger等初創公司的利用率與疫情之前相比出現大幅飆升,根據虛擬精神病護理就診類型的不同,增長率在150%到300%之間。

        蘭德公司智囊團一項研究發現,由于疫情期間親自前往醫院很不安全,在求助虛擬醫療服務的人里,有54%希望解決精神層面的問題,而不是身體本身出了毛病。

        這些只是很小的案例。其他業務,例如IBM軟件部門Red Hat等紛紛緊急任命首席執行官并部署相關措施,解決全民隔離時代員工的焦慮和抑郁情緒。

        盡管精神健康問題無處不在,但它通常都被放在各項疾病后面。疫情暴露了精神健康問題,也為創新型公司提供了出頭的機會。盡管在病毒的陰影下,業務和需求都可能保持增長,底層社區以及沒有高速互聯網的社區仍然很落后。

        如果真希望精神保健可持續發展,不僅要消除恥辱感,還要破除影響人們尋求必要治療的結構障礙。

        ——錫·穆克吉

        大學校園經歷的損失

        如果讓畢業生找出大學經歷中最珍視的部分,答案應該幾乎都跟課程內容無關。通常最讓人銘記于心的是人際關系,和后來成為終身朋友的同學、教授、隊友、教練、導師等人的關系,還有親身經歷。

        然而疫情使得人際關系出現了倒退。北卡羅來納州中央大學大四學生珍妮·戴維斯在接受校園節目“在線回音”時說:“就是不一樣了?!?/font>

        今年春天,許多學校都在努力提供面對面上課機會,結果卻與傳統的大學生活相差甚遠,主要是由于嚴格的限制。舉例來說,弗吉尼亞大學除了上課、吃飯、獨自鍛煉或接受病毒檢測,都禁止離開宿舍。

        有些大學食堂只開放外賣。由于病例激增,新罕布什爾大學、密歇根大學、克拉克森大學等多所學校本學期只提供數天或數周的網課。

        賓夕法尼亞州一名大三學生告訴《時代周刊》:“感覺只是在看視頻,不像在上課?!?/font>

        除此之外,體育賽季紛紛被縮短甚至取消。12月份的美國十大聯盟的俄亥俄州立大學與西北大學比賽場面相當超現實和悲慘,容納7萬人的體育場里,觀眾只有球員家屬和工作人員。

        對于社交控的一代來說,這可能是最糟糕的情況。他們擔心錯過的恐懼成真了,而且他們確實錯過了大學最有意思的部分。很多學生和家長都對此感到很憤怒。

        BryanCave LeightonPaissner律師事務所聲稱,學校已收到257宗集體訴訟,該事務所負責為大學辯護。雖然學校的做法迫不得已,學生還是堅持應該部分退款。

        在某些案例中,學校根據合同法細節進行了有效的辯護,然而事實是學生的主張沒錯。學生花錢卻沒有享受應有的大學生活,而且看不到希望。這簡直太糟了。

        ——葛繼甫

        TikTok大爆發

        TikTok既是疫情中的英雄也是受益方,封鎖期間該應用為全世界數億人提供了急需的聯系和娛樂,也在用戶數和收入方面獲得了巨大收益。僅在2020年,該應用就吸引了1.81億用戶,成為當年下載量最多的應用,其中一季度全球各地剛開始封鎖時下載量最大。

        去年TikTok上受歡迎的視頻多種多樣,包括了模仿居家辦公表現最差的同事、對于疫情期間消失的積極氛圍的感嘆,還有那些永遠受人關注又不可描述的片段。

        除了偶爾的阻礙,去年堪稱TikTok相當輝煌的一年。特朗普宣布可能對該應用發布禁令時,從Z世代到幾乎每代人都在表達反抗。

        根據App Annie的數據,雖然疫情期間幾乎所有應用的用戶使用時間都有所增加,但TikTok在美國的同比增長率達到325%,甚至超過了Facebook。

        去年,美國TikTok用戶平均每月使用21.5小時,而Facebook用戶平均每月使用時間為17.7小時。

        隨著新冠疫苗的推出,人們可能會走出隔離,減少在社交媒體上花的時間,不過預計2021年TikTok仍會保持增長。2020年,TikTok是全球下載量最大的應用,在全球消費者支出中排名第二,僅次于Tinder。

        Hootsuite發布的《2021年社會趨勢》報告顯示,今年只有14%的營銷商計劃在TikTok上增加廣告支出,說明雖然應用的文化持續增長,變現仍然面臨挑戰。

        ——麥肯納·摩爾

        疫情分層

        去年春天的第一次封鎖開始時,除了聯邦政府認定為“一線員工”的人,很多人都要居家隔離。醫護人員、雜貨店員、送貨司機、公交員工,還有一些沒法完全居家生活的人們受到病毒傳播的嚴重影響。

        居家辦公者和戶外工作者之間出現分裂,而且明顯存在階層(以及種族和性別)界線,割裂格外明顯。

        疫情期間,階層分界標志越發清晰。有遠程辦公階層和現場工作階層;遠程辦公的人員中,也分為擁有可靠互聯網和穩定家庭環境的人和沒條件的人。

        Zoom和其他視頻應用暴露了美國人的家庭狀況,同齡人通過觀察彼此住在大公寓還是小房間里就很容易判斷。疫情初期,新冠病毒檢測還很稀罕時,檢測也能區分階層,有錢人和名人可以接受測試,還有無法檢測的階層。

        去年4月,社會分為有能力支付房租的人,以及三分之一無力付房租的人。

        此外還有在職與創歷史紀錄的失業者之間的分別,而且失業者大部分是女性。

        全球范圍內貧富差距擴大。富裕國家一直在搶購疫苗,發展中國家在疫苗接種方面面臨落后的風險。一些專家表示,排在最后一批的國家可能要等到2024年才能接種疫苗。

        ——凱倫·袁

        譯者:馮豐

        審校:夏林

        編輯:徐曉彤

        This week marks the first anniversary of Fortune’s decision to ask all U.S.- and Europe-based staffers to work from home. Looking back on the email announcement is like looking at a time capsule. There was a strong focus on cleaning and sanitization, which we now know isn’t a good use of time and resources in fighting the battle against COVID-19. Business travel was canceled. Training sessions on working from home were offered. But most notable is that initially the office shutdown was scheduled for just one week: “We will reevaluate the need to extend this temporary policy next week and will communicate updates accordingly.”

        I haven’t been back in the office since.

        The past year has transformed nearly every aspect of our world. Seemingly overnight, the quirky (wearing leggings during a Zoom call with clients!) became mundane. Meanwhile, our friends, family, colleagues, and communities have had their lives changed in critical ways that promise to have much longer-lasting effects. Living through a global pandemic has driven dramatic shifts in our jobs, eating habits, childcare, and even our collective sense of time.

        Fifteen Fortune staffers reported on some of the most significant ways in which our lives have been altered, and one lesson rings true: Virtually no one has been left untouched after 12 months of such dramatic disruption. A generous dose of empathy and understanding of that truth will make us all stronger as we rebuild and remake our world in the year ahead.

        Work from home

        In a year of Zoom burnout, mask profiteering, and virtual yoga, perhaps no COVID-19 phenomenon will have a more lasting impact than WFH, or work from home. The pandemic drove companies worldwide to shut their offices, sometimes at a day’s notice. By June of last year, 42% of the U.S. labor force, largely from the ranks of white-collar employees and professionals, were working from home, many shutting their apartments and logging in from cheaper or more serene locations. Similar retreats to home offices happened around the world.

        For a while it seemed like a respite from daily stresses. Traffic jams vanished in cities like Los Angeles, San Jose, and Bengaluru. Companies reported saving countless millions on utilities and operating costs, and started eyeing their high-priced offices as unnecessary, since their businesses seemed to tick along fine without them.

        Now, a year on, it seems possible that office life might never be the same again. For millions, working from home has come to signify higher-end employment. Indeed, the gulf is now starkly visible on the streets between those able to perform their jobs remotely, and lower-paid transport, health, or retail workers who have no WFH option. With offices shut, large numbers of canteen and lunch-hour restaurant workers, janitors, and others have lost their jobs altogether. It is a “ticking time bomb for inequality,” says Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom.

        Despite such wrenching dislocations, most remote employees say that when the pandemic finally ends, they will want the choice of where they work, with many preferring a flexible mix of office and home. That is a profound shift, with which companies will need to grapple for years. Yes, businesses will save millions on utilities and office rent. And there is also saved productivity, lost before to hours spent in needless meetings or on long commutes.

        But the loss from making WFH permanent could be just as big. Those only beginning their careers have struggled to be productive while working from home. And studies show that face-to-face contact is crucial for generating new ideas. Gmail, Google News, and Street View all grew out of chitchat over free gourmet lunches at Google HQ.

        Even as offices begin reopening for partial in-person work, many are finding that they need a drastic redesign, with touchless elevators and distanced pods. But in the end, that may be the easiest part, as companies adjust to the WFH age.—Vivienne Walt

        A distorted sense of time

        When the U.K. locked down owing to the emerging coronavirus last March, Ruth Ogden, an assistant professor of psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, was on maternity leave, at home with her infant daughter and two other young children. Confined to those quarters and conditions, each day felt like a fresh eternity to her.

        Ogden’s research focuses on human perception of time, and she wondered: Is everyone feeling this way? So she did an academic study. They didn’t all feel like Ogden, but the vast majority of the 604 participants reported experiencing a distorted sense of time during the country’s lockdown.

        That time has been playing tricks on us during the pandemic will surprise no one who, over the course of the past year, has forgotten what day it is, or who in describing daily life has invoked Groundhog Day. There are reasons for that.

        When COVID-19 abruptly upended our lives last year, it separated us, almost completely, from the routine and events that usually root our lives in time (and help us commit it to memory)—work, school, dates, social outings, sports events, ceremonies, travel, the things we plan for and look forward to. Life tends to be a blur without those anchors, explains Ogden.

        For people who have been able to work from home during the pandemic, that disorienting effect is compounded by the collapsed boundary between work and home, and the now more fluid workday: When does the day begin and end when you can never really leave the virtual pandemic office?

        Technology, of course, began eroding the wall between work and home decades ago—dividing employees into boundary-loving “segmenters” and more flexible “integrators”—but experts, like Nancy Rothbard, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, say the pandemic has supercharged that trend. Studies show remote workers are working more. A team with Harvard Business School, using meeting and email metadata of roughly 3.1 million employees around the world, found the pandemic workday was, on average, 48.5 minutes longer. In a sample of its employees, Microsoft found they were more often working at night, through lunch, and over the weekends.

        How we’ve experienced the passage of time during the pandemic, though, is more personal, says Ogden. In her study, which she repeated with similar results during the U.K.’s second lockdown this winter, roughly 40% of respondents sensed that time was passing more slowly than usual. Another 40% felt it was moving faster. (And 20%, perhaps essential workers, experienced no change.) The difference, Ogden found, came down to a few factors. For people who were busy, who were satisfied with their social interactions, and who were not stressed, time sped along. For those who were lonely, bored, and experiencing anxiety and depression, it moved slowly.

        Will a year on pandemic time, however we experienced it, have long-term implications? Experts expect the workday will remain more flexible and fluid than it was in the before-times, and that—for a while, at least—people may be a bit more appreciative and thoughtful about the time they have and how they use it.

        “We’ve realized that a year is quite important,” says Simon Grondin, a psychology professor at Laval University and the author of The Perception of Time: Your Questions Answered. But as the months roll on, ironically enough, he believes that sensitivity to the preciousness of time will disappear.—Erika Fry

        The way we work out

        Toilet paper wasn’t the only hard-to-find item in the early days of the pandemic. For gym rats, dumbbell shortages and lengthy waits for delivery of Peloton bikes and treadmills became symbols of just how dramatically COVID-19 altered workout culture.

        City- and statewide lockdowns shuttered fitness center chains and boutique spin, barre, and yoga studios. In some places, even outdoor exercise was restricted. Like nearly all other aspects of pandemic-era life, exercise too was suddenly an at-home activity, and amateur athletes scrambled to turn a basement or garage or corner of a studio apartment into a personal workout space.

        The shift was bad news for brick-and-mortar gyms, with once-buzzy purveyors of in-person fitness struggling to survive. Spin studio Flywheel, for one, filed for bankruptcy in September.

        Meanwhile, the pandemic was an enormous boon for makers of in-home workout equipment. Peloton’s sales doubled in its most recent fiscal year to $1.8 billion, as consumers clamored for the company’s connected gear and on-demand app. The company ended its latest quarter with 1.67 million subscribers to its equipment-connected classes and 625,000 subscribers to its app, increases of 134% and 472%, respectively, from the prior year. Hydrow, which sells a $2,200 rowing machine, said its sales jumped 400% during the pandemic; it raised a fresh round of $25 million in funding in June to expand its direct-to-consumer distribution. And workout apparel retailer Lululemon paid $500 million to acquire Mirror, maker of wall-mounted screens that offer on-demand workouts, in a bet that the at-home fitness trend will remain hot even if COVID-19 eases.

        But for every piece of high-end exercise equipment sold to meet the demands of pandemic-era exercise, there was a low-tech alternative: live yoga classes with a beloved instructor on Zoom, squats with a backpack full of books, a marathon-distance race, run alone in a 20-foot backyard.

        The world is eager for the pandemic to subside and for life to return to “normal.” But the at-home fitness trend might just outlast the days of occupancy limits and social distancing. A survey by The New Consumer and Coefficient Capital, published in December, found that 76% of consumers have switched to exercising more at home during COVID-19, and 66% say they prefer it. Technology can re-create some of the camaraderie that exercise classes and crowded weight rooms used to foster—and the convenience of working out at home means there are fewer reasons to not show up.—Claire Zillman

        Renewed gratitude for essential workers

        In a world that came to rely on restaurant workers and delivery people to survive quarantine, a new study from the University of California at San Francisco offered a surprising insight into the lives of these anonymous workers. Turns out that line cooks, not health care workers, may face the highest risk of death in the pandemic. The study aligns with what reams of data now affirm: To perform essential, in-person work in the U.S. is to be both a hostage and in enormous jeopardy, even without a pandemic raging. The line cooks, the warehouse workers, the bus drivers, the custodial staff, the store clerks, and anyone doing the kind of work that makes other work possible are often living in crowded and inadequate housing. Tools for their well-being, like access to capital markets, education, and health care, are typically out of reach. They’re also primarily Black, brown, rural dwellers, or immigrants. Many of these jobs were on track to be replaced by automation in the coming years; now, as entire neighborhoods reel from economic loss, their post-COVID future is fraught. Many African American families, already laboring under an enormous wealth gap—the median white family in the U.S holds more than 10 times the wealth of the median Black family, according to research from McKinsey—may never recover.

        What would gratitude for essential workers look like? The new practice of acknowledging in-person workers—there is an entire Pinterest category just for signs thanking delivery drivers, for example—is a terrific start. But letting them return to anonymity is a mistake society cannot afford to make. Nothing short of a system reboot is called for, of which the vital work of job retraining or “upskilling” to prepare the workforce for a digitized and automated future can be only one part. Gratitude means a sober look at the true barriers essential workers often face; conversations about wages, immigration reform, childcare, affordable credit, unemployment insurance, police and bail reform, even union protections. It’s time to make sure essential workers stay visible. After all, what would we do without them?—Ellen McGirt

        A chronology of pandemic-fueled shortages

        For American consumers, the past year has been marked by one shortage after another. In March, as government lockdowns spread across the country, consumers feared penury, and in their pandemic-fueled panic, stocked up on essentials, notably toilet paper. (That later led to a paucity of bidets.)

        At the same time, as people were being told to disinfect all surfaces before touching them (remember being told not to touch a delivery package for 24 hours?), Clorox’s namesake wipes became the hottest item imaginable in early spring, and in early 2021, the company thinks the wipes’ availability will be normalized only by midyear.

        After the initial chaos, as people realized grocery and big-box stores would not run out of essentials, they focused on how to pass the time. By May, American bike shops were running out of lower-end brands, and barbells proved impossible to find: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association says that 14% more Americans rode a road bike at least once in 2020 than in the previous year.

        Once summer arrived in June, outdoor furniture became scarce. The following month, shoppers had to contend with yet another problem: Coins were hard to come by, and many stores were requiring exact change or electronic payments.

        But consumers weren’t yet done with hassles. In August, many stores were out of charcoal as Americans barbecued their hearts out. Once summer ended, consumers had to deal with the effect of orders canceled in March by panicked retailers and apparel makers fearful of being saddled with merchandise they might not be able to unload months later. Stores ran low on everything from Crocs to Under Armour clothing.

        By October, the home-gym craze was such that Peloton’s order backlog reached alarming levels, prompting the stationary-bike maker to buy a manufacturer to increase production. In November, restaurants and homeowners were buying up every patio heater in sight. And a month later, as the outdoor sports boom continued, skis and snowshoes went flying off the shelves. (In January, it was cross-country skis that were selling out.)

        In February, the 12th month of the pandemic, a shortage of a product consumers don’t buy directly but is a key component in much of what they do had reared its head: an insufficient supply of silicon chips. The shortage has closed U.S. car factories and delayed shipments of consumer electronics among many repercussions, proving how long-lasting the impact of this pandemic could be even after the virus is curbed.—Phil Wahba

        The many, many considerations working parents juggle

        For decades, the challenges for working parents were straightforward: How do I find affordable childcare? How do I transport my kids to and from school? What’s a good balance between the time I spend on work versus home life?

        But a year into the coronavirus pandemic, nothing about working parenthood is as clear-cut anymore. The number of considerations has ballooned to include weighing whether day care is a health risk and how to juggle working at home while children do online schooling. For parents who must still commute to work, the situation is even more complicated. The only constant these days about working parenthood—and especially working motherhood, as moms shoulder these pandemic burdens disproportionately—is that it’s harder than ever.

        There has been some help. Some companies have relaxed their policies to make it easier for working parents, or now offer extra benefits, such as free backup childcare or reskilling so that employees who normally work in person can stay at home because of childcare obligations. Meanwhile, the latest COVID relief package making its way to President Biden’s desk includes $40 million for childcare providers and an expansion of the child tax credit to $3,000 per child, with slightly more for kids under six.

        Whatever the case, working parents, and especially mothers forced out of the workforce, will feel the impact of the pandemic on their families and careers for months to come—and possibly for years.—Emma Hinchliffe

        A change of appetite

        As the virus swept the globe last spring, one of the more remarkable trends was manifest in how much of the world reacted roughly the same way when it came to food. From Colombia to Bulgaria, restaurants and hotels closed—taking high-priced specialties with them—and many people stockpiled beans and other staples. People who had previously relied on takeout and restaurants started cooking at home almost exclusively (especially when it came to baking bread) and loading up on affordable comfort foods that provide sustenance and familiarity alike, according to reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

        Some of those changes of habit were fueled by fears of food shortages and stockpiling owing to COVID-19. One year later, those fears have largely dissipated; in most places, logistical delays to transporting food proved to be short-lived. But the way we eat has changed regardless—and likely for the long term.

        The first change is the deepening of food insecurity worldwide, as the economic effects of the pandemic have widened already existing divides between those who can and can’t access, and afford, nutritious food. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that the economic impact of the pandemic added between 83 million and 132 million people to the world’s undernourished in 2020 alone.

        Meanwhile, for those who can afford to make the move, processed comfort foods are out—and healthy eating is in. From Thailand to Russia to El Salvador, recent USDA reports point to a surge in demand for healthy, whole foods—especially ones seen as immune-system boosting—driven by the sudden shift into home cooking and the hope that good food will ward off disease. In wealthier countries, this includes sharp increases in demand for organic food. But in many households it’s driven by the economic strains of the pandemic: Budget-friendly meal planning means fewer impulse-bought treats.

        And finally, there’s one trend that food giants may find is here to stay: Online grocery shopping—and delivery—is surging as never before, finding avid customers from Jordan to Greece to, yes, the U.S. We may never eat—or shop—the same way again.—Katherine Dunn

        Shining a light on inequality

        The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on human life and the economy over the past year. But that impact has been uneven and inequitable, as the disease ravaged some communities more than others, sparing or even boosting the fortunes of some demographic groups while others withered. Women, minorities, and the poor have suffered disproportionately, as the pandemic exposed and exacerbated pre-existing gaps in health, economic security, and well-being, bringing America’s structurally embedded inequality into sharp relief.

        This uneven impact can be seen most starkly in divergent death rates in different communities. While 1.2 out of every 1,000 white people in the United States have perished from the disease, the death toll reached 1.5 out of every 1,000 Hispanics, and 1.7 per 1,000 Black people and Native Americans. Those disparities reflect the nation’s wide gulf in access to health care, as well as the fact that people of color are more likely to have frontline jobs and less likely to be able to take sick leave.

        There has also been a racial and gender disparity in jobs lost, as more women and people of color worked in the service industries that were hit harder by the pandemic. Service jobs are often the best or only option for workers who haven’t had access to higher education, or whose child- or eldercare duties preclude a more routine nine-to-five schedule. And the pandemic exposed just how insecure those jobs are compared with white-collar, salaried positions.

        About 60% of the jobs eliminated after COVID-19 struck were held by women. More women also had to stay home and forgo working in order to care for kids whose schools have been closed, costing the economy an estimated $341 billion.

        The unemployment rate for Black workers more than doubled from January to June of last year, rising to 15% versus a peak of just 9% for white workers. By the end of 2020, the unemployment rate for Black people remained at 10%, compared with less than 6% for white people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In part, that’s because just 20% of Black workers can work from home, versus 30% of white workers and 37% of Asian workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

        That has led to many follow-on economic effects. One out of five Black households reported not having enough food in February, compared with 18% of Latino households, and 8% of white households. In another survey of those behind on rent payments as of February, 29% of Black renters, 22% of Latino renters, and 13% of white renters said they were not current.

        School closures owing to the pandemic have also delivered a harder blow among people of color, though all students have been harmed by reduced hours and the lack of in-person learning. Based on assessments done in 25 states last year, students learned only 67% of the math and 87% of the reading they would have in a normal year, according to an analysis by McKinsey. But at schools with a majority of students of color, scores were 59% of a normal year for math and 77% for reading. Those data points, like so many others, underscore how COVID-19 exposed our society’s underinvestment in its less privileged members.—Aaron Pressman

        Remote learning

        The shift to remote learning has been a disaster for traditional schooling, the most vulnerable students, and the careers and mental health of parents. But there’s also evidence that staying home has benefited many children, raising questions about how we educate and care for them during normal times.

        Both pre- and post-pandemic, a variety of studies have found that online remote learning simply cannot replace the classroom experience. The lack of personal interaction and social engagement appears to impair knowledge retention, with younger children least able to adapt.

        Like many aspects of the pandemic, this burden has fallen hardest on the poor, members of minority groups, and women. Twenty percent of all U.S. students, primarily from lower-income families, lack a computer or even an Internet connection for remote schooling, while those with more resources can turn to solutions like private tutoring or small-group “pods.” Yale economists estimated that ninth graders in the poorest U.S. communities could lose 25% of their future earning potential as a result of a one-year school closure, while those in the top 20% will experience no significant loss.

        Owing in part to the same lack of resources and public support, students of color stand to lose twice as much learning progress as white students during shutdowns. Children with mental health challenges and other special needs have been largely robbed of the structured, hands-on support provided by the school system. And more than half a million working mothers have left the workforce altogether because of increased childcare duties—far higher than the number of fathers making the same choice.

        However, pandemic schooling may have a silver lining, and not just for the children of the well-off. In recent decades, levels of anxiety, depression, and suicide have surged among children and teenagers. While much attention has been paid to the role of social media in these trends, the spike long predates Instagram, and many experts instead think the main culprit is children’s and adolescents’ increasingly regimented and hectic lives. One deeply disturbing indicator: Suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides among youth surge when school is in session, according to a 2018 Vanderbilt University analysis of children’s hospital admissions.

        That may help explain why cross-sectional surveys conducted by one NGO early on in school shutdowns found that without the constraints of traditional school, children self-reported increased levels of calm, independence, and responsibility, and parents overwhelmingly reported their children were happy without school. An ongoing Oxford study found heightened levels of loneliness over the same period, though, and data from later lockdowns is scarce, so the full impact on kids remains unclear.

        But if the positive side of the equation holds up, it could be fresh fuel for a long-running movement, under banners like “unschooling” and “free-range parenting,” aimed at giving kids more time for unsupervised play and self-directed learning. Advocates say such an approach helps children develop greater self-reliance and creativity—attributes that the pandemic itself has shown are vital to lifelong success.—David Z. Morris

        A renewed relationship with nature

        Sometimes it takes a global pandemic to get us to appreciate our own backyard.

        In 2020, a year in which the coronavirus decimated international travel and brought terms like “quarantine” and “social distancing” into the vernacular, millions of Americans turned to the great outdoors for refuge.

        People flocked to parks and public lands. Although, technically, visitation declined 28% countrywide, according to the National Park Service, that dip was mostly the result of pandemic-related closures and restrictions. The total numbers fail to reflect the surge in guests that parks that remained open experienced.

        Many local officials—ranging from those in Pennsylvania to the Pacific Northwest—reported dramatic upticks in park visitors, according to a recent report from the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit environmental conservation group. The summer months were particularly busy. Visits to Grand Teton National Park reached near-record levels in August 2020. Even visits to Yellowstone National Park rose 2% in July versus the same period a year prior, despite not operating at full capacity.

        “As movie theaters, restaurants, bars, and stores have closed across the country, parks have emerged as the one safe space for scratching the itch to get out of the house,” wrote Linda Hwang, the trust’s strategy and innovation lead, in its report.

        America’s renewed relationship with nature during times of crisis is not a new phenomenon. The trend matches how the country reacted to the last serious pandemic.

        In 1920, as the Spanish flu’s deadly impact was subsiding in the U.S., Americans swarmed Yellowstone. The park recorded a 42% increase in visitors by rail and a 21% increase in visitors by automobile that year versus the year prior, as Quartz has noted.

        Studies over the years have shown the advantages of spending more time outdoors. According to a recent study in medical journal The Lancet, researchers noted that access to green spaces is “associated with more physical activity, better mental health, sounder sleep, lower stress levels, improved cognition, and faster hospital recovery.”

        Parks bear some relation to good health, in other words. As Shawn Benge, deputy director of the National Park Service, put it in a press release, these protected lands “provide close-to-home opportunities” for people to improve their “physical and psychological” well-being.

        Thus, months of isolation make the fresh air that much sweeter.—Andrew Marquardt

        The decimation of women in the workplace

        It took less than a year to erase more than three decades of progress for America’s working women. More than 2.3 million women have left the U.S. labor force since February 2020, sending us back to participation levels last seen in 1988. And women—especially women of color, who are already the most economically vulnerable—have borne the brunt of the pandemic-era job losses, accounting for more than 53% of net U.S. jobs shed in the past year. Now President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have recognized the ongoing employment crisis for working women as “a national emergency.”

        COVID-19, which closed schools and day cares and the service-oriented businesses that rely on majority-female workforces, was the spark that ignited this crisis. But its underlying causes—including the country’s sweeping lack of affordable childcare or paid leave for working parents; employers’ persistent failures to close the gender and racial gaps in what they pay workers; and men’s general unwillingness to shoulder an equal burden of unpaid caregiving and other domestic labor—have been accumulating for much longer. “Bringing everyone back into the house exposed the wound of gender inequality,” says Misty Heggeness, a principal economist with the U.S. Census Bureau.

        Healing that wound will require sweeping policy changes, some of which Biden’s proposed stimulus package includes. But it also demands sustained efforts by employers to change how they recruit, promote, pay—and hire back—women, now and once the pandemic is over.

        “COVID highlighted a lot of things that we knew were right under the surface,” says Christy Pambianchi, Verizon’s chief HR officer. “Adding a couple of days a year to the company PTO bank is not going to solve a problem of this size and scale.”—Maria Aspan

        A mental health crisis

        There was a line in, of all things, a show about superheroes that managed to capture the tragedy of our collective moment: “But what is grief, if not love persevering?”

        It’s no revolutionary concept. This is, after all, the nature of grief—that sense of loss for the things we love. But that simple piece of dialogue from the Disney show WandaVision really gets to what we’ve been feeling in our bones over the course of this pandemic.

        Americans have been isolated, stressed out, and generally thrown for a loop in the past year: “9/11 was traumatic, but it was over after a while. This is just ongoing, and it’s turned our lives upside down,” says Dr. Katherine Shear, the founding director of Columbia University’s Center for Complicated Grief. And that’s had wide-ranging implications for the country’s reckoning with a mental health crisis and what industries can do to address it.

        The biggest change over the past year comes in the growth of the telehealth industry focused on mental health. By the end of 2020, some nine months after the pandemic began in earnest, usage of virtual and text-based mental health services soared.

        Startups such as Ginger saw astronomical growth in utilization rates relative to the pre-COVID era—ranging from 150% to 300% depending on the type of virtual psychiatric care visit. A study conducted by think tank Rand Corporation found 54% of those seeking access to virtual medical care, a necessity when going to a hospital in person may not be safe, were looking for psychiatric services rather than physical health treatment.

        Those are just some small examples. Other businesses, such as IBM’s software arm Red Hat, have rushed to appoint chief people officers and deploy measures to address their employees’ anxiety and depression in this era.

        Mental health has typically been put on the back burner of American maladies despite its omnipresence. The pandemic laid it bare, offering an opportunity for innovative companies to take a stand. And while that business, and the demand for it, may be growing under the specter of the pandemic, underserved communities and those without the savvy or privilege of a fast Internet connection are still being left behind. For a virtual space for mental health care to be truly sustainable, it must rely not just on the tearing down of stigma but of structural roadblocks that prevent people from getting the care they need in the first place.—Sy Mukherjee

        A diminished college experience

        Ask any college graduate to identify the most valuable parts of their college experience, and the answer is almost never about course content. It’s usually about relationships—with classmates who become lifelong friends, professors, teammates, coaches, advisers—and about experiences that happen only in person, some of which one neglects to mention to parents. The answer is mostly about stuff that has been eliminated or throttled way back in the pandemic. North Carolina Central University senior Precious Davis spoke for millions when she told the school’s Campus Echo Online: “It just isn’t the same.”

        Many schools are trying hard to offer in-person classes this spring, but the result is far from the traditional college experience. Restrictions are severe. The University of Virginia, for example, has barred students from leaving their rooms except to attend class, get food, exercise alone, or get tested for COVID-19. Some colleges’ dining halls are open only for takeout. Several schools—the University of New Hampshire, the University of Michigan, Clarkson University, many others—have gone online-only for days or weeks this semester as cases have surged. A Penn State junior told Time, “You simply feel like you’re watching videos and you’re not part of the class.”

        Sports seasons have been shortened or canceled. The Big 10 football championship game in December—Ohio State vs. Northwestern—was a surreal and pathetic scene: The only attendees were family members of the players and staff in a stadium that seats 70,000.

        For the FOMO generation, this is about the worst thing that could happen. Their fear of missing out is justified; they really are missing out on the best parts of college. Many of them, and their parents, are angry. They’ve filed 257 class-action lawsuits against schools, says the law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, which defends universities in some of these suits. While the schools had to do what they did, the students insist they deserve a partial refund. In some cases, the schools have an effective defense in the niceties of contract law, but the truth is, the students are right. They aren’t getting what they paid for, and there isn’t any silver lining. It’s just lousy.—Geoff Colvin

        TikTok’s big moment

        TikTok was both a hero and a beneficiary of the pandemic, providing hundreds of millions of people worldwide with much-needed connection and entertainment during lockdowns, while gaining immensely in users and revenue. In 2020 alone, the app raked in an estimated 181 million users, making it the most-downloaded app of the year, hitting its peak during Q1, when the pandemic’s first lockdowns spread across the globe. The most popular videos on TikTok last year ranged in topic from a parody of your worst work-from-home colleague, to the type of positive, calming vibes sorely missing during the pandemic, to the endlessly catchy yet utterly inexplicable.

        Aside from a brief bump in the road, when Gen Z—and just about every other generation with them—had to confront the terrifying possibility that then-President Trump might ban their beloved TikTok, the app had a stellar year. While nearly every app experienced an uptick in time spent per user, TikTok saw 325% year-over-year growth in the U.S. to surpass even Facebook, according to App Annie. The average American TikTok user spent 21.5 hours per month on the platform last year, compared with the average Facebooker’s 17.7 hours monthly.

        As COVID vaccines are rolled out and herd immunity (hopefully) ensues, people may emerge from their quarantine caves and spend less time on social media, but TikTok is still expected to grow in 2021. In 2020, TikTok was the most-downloaded app in the world, and ranked second-highest, behind Tinder, for consumer spending worldwide. Hootsuite’s Social Trends 2021 Report showed that only 14% of marketers plan to up their ad spending on TikTok this year, though, showing that even as the app’s cultural cachet continues to grow, monetizing the platform remains a challenge.—McKenna Moore

        The COVID class markers

        When last spring’s first lockdowns began, many became quarantined in their homes—save for those the federal government labeled “essential workers.” Health care workers, grocery clerks, delivery drivers, mass transit workers, and others could not move their lives fully indoors and became disproportionately vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus. Communities became split between those working from home and those working outside the home, and that split ran glaringly along the lines of class (as well as race and gender), illuminating that divide.

        Class markers have become starkly visible during the pandemic. There is the remote-work class and the in-person–work class; even among remote workers, there are those who have reliable Internet access and a stable home environment and those who don’t. Zoom and other video calls have exposed the insides of Americans’ homes, whether they live in enormous condos or cramped apartments, to the judgment of their peers. Early in the pandemic, when COVID-19 tests were especially scarce, there was the tested class, among whom the wealthy and famous could access tests, and the untested class, who couldn’t. Last April, there were those able to pay rent and the third of Americans who weren’t; then the employed and the historic number of unemployed, most of whom are women.

        On a global scale, the wealth disparities are even greater: Wealthy nations have been snapping up shipments of vaccines, leaving developing nations at risk of lagging behind in terms of vaccination. Some experts say the last in line may not get the vaccine until 2024.—Karen Yuan

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