A pen lies beside a ring-bound full-year calendar on a sunflower yellow surface.
Image: © methaphum/Stock.adobe.com

Are we ready for another year of working from home under Covid-19?

15 Mar 2021

With a world free of Covid-19 still a distant reality, Elaine Burke reflects on the resilience we need to get through the continuing crisis.

I decided to stick on some Johnny Logan while ruminating on this week’s editorial, marking one year since my first on working from home under Covid-19.

The refrain of What’s Another Year? has been knocking around my brain ever since I first started musing on this work-from-home anniversary. Because, unfortunately, I believe there’s every chance we’re looking at continued Covid-19 restrictions throughout 2021.

The vaccine roll-out is not going to be the swiftly injected solution many hoped it would be. And with new, more virulent coronavirus strains entering the mix, the effort to contain the virus on a global scale is far from complete.

I am hopeful that Ireland might soon be able to reach a level of normality close to what we achieved last summer. But I am also fearful that these will once again prove to be temporary gains when the winter rolls around. Vaccinations will still be progressing through the population at this point and who knows how the virus will have adapted by then.

You might call this pessimistic but for me it’s preparedness. It’s an act of self-preservation to brace myself for another year of limited social interaction. Hope is a fragile thing and I’m not about to put all of mine out there, at risk of being shattered.

It surprised me, then, how many people were marking Ireland’s year of Covid-19 with eager forecasts for their post-pandemic plans. I’m not there yet, as I think this scenario is still too distant.

This time last year I was busying myself with plans for a virtual Eurovision party to replace the cancelled 2020 event. As you may have already guessed, I’m a huge fan of the annual international song contest and went to great efforts (along with former Silicon Republic teammate Shelly Madden) to recreate the magic of the event for a group of friends over Zoom last May.

For me, this was a defining moment in my personal journey over the past year. It was a night when I realised that this crisis wasn’t going to be all bad. We would still have moments of joy.

So when I say I expect another year of not-normal, I don’t say it with an expectation of only doom and gloom. Of course, I’m still looking forward to the post-Covid world, I just don’t think it’s clearly in sight just yet. I am resolved to patiently await its arrival.

Johnny Logan’s 1980 Eurovision winner has more than an apt title for this state of mind. “I’ve been waiting such a long time, looking out for you,” sings Logan. “But you’re not here.”

Logan’s plaintive lyrics might as well be about our longed-for post-Covid fantasies. They seem in reach, but are notable in their absence.

“What’s another year to someone who’s getting used to being alone?” sings Logan. And truly, with a year of Covid-19 under our belts, many of us have stocked them with the tools we need to cope.

With its stoic chorus, Logan’s mournful love song sounds a note of resilience. It’s this quality that has borne us through this far, and we’ll need to keep it well stocked for what’s still to come.

And when it is finally over, I guarantee you I’ll be the first to belt out some bars of Hold Me Now.

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Elaine Burke
By Elaine Burke

Elaine Burke was editor of Silicon Republic until 2023, and is now the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. Elaine joined Silicon Republic in 2011 as a journalist covering gadgets, new media and tech jobs. She later served as managing editor before stepping up as editor in 2019. She comes from a background in publishing and is known for being particularly pernickety when it comes to spelling and grammar – earning her the nickname, Critical Red Pen.

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