One of the new over-used terms of the COVID-19 pandemic is finding the "new normal." When I look at how 2020 has gone, my first thought is there's absolutely nothing normal about it.
When it became apparent in early March that this year would be like no other, Crain Communications, our parent company, did like many other businesses and quickly had its staff begin working remotely. While having an office and newsroom environment is a plus for those in publishing, we soon showed that indeed we could perform most of our functions from home.
We have continued to deliver news to you in what we hope is a seamless fashion, across both our print and digital formats. In retrospect, that probably has been about the most normal thing to happen this year.
As I write this column at my dining room table/home office, it's easy to reflect on how abnormal things really have been. I remember how our "winter and spring travel season" to cover rubber industry events was wiped out. But at least we thought fall events "likely" would be safe.
Maybe that was wishful thinking at the time. But now most of those meetings either have been canceled or transitioned to virtual events. That includes the International Tire Exhibition & Conference, which Rubber & Plastics News organizes, and the ACS Rubber Division's International Elastomer Conference, a staple on the rubber industry's October calendar every year.
Other things that are far from normal: I haven't been able to visit a rubber factory or business in person since this started.
It's been more than three months since Erin Pustay Beaven was promoted to managing editor of RPN, but I haven't been able to congratulate her in person. And it's been two months since Joe Scalzo was hired as online content editor of RPN and sister publication Tire Business, and I've met him in person exactly once.
We all have done our best job of "pivoting"—another new pandemic term—using Zoom, Slack and other online platforms to stay in touch.
And I do remain optimistic, buoyed by the effort our team—much like yours I'm sure—has put in throughout this crisis.
When will things get back to normal? I have no idea. For now we'll just keep taking things one day at a time.