For the second part of this blog mini-series, I want to focus on a silver lining that will hopefully come as a result of this terrible coronavirus. Mike Tyson famously said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Covid-19 is the punch in the mouth to which many professionals, businesses, and industries will have to react.
Working remotely is something that every industry is either implementing or weighing as an option. Social contact is another issue that everyone is focusing on – limiting interactions when unnecessary could severely reduce the impact of this pandemic. Unfortunately, too, the economic impact of this global emergency will take years to recover, forcing people to reevaluate their prior spending.
These three issues all play into mediation. In South Florida, it is common to mediate in a large suite in an even larger office building. There can be dozens of people in and out of the suite every day. Each person likely comes in contact with 3-4 people (hand shaking, talking closely, touching shared surfaces) and this is how things have run for the most part for the last decade or so.
Serving cookies or meatballs, having a stocked kitchen, and offering beverages are all things that mediators utilize to make the participants more comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, these things are appreciated, and mediating at a place with such commodities is way better than mediating somewhere without them; but how will this change post- Covid-19?
There’s a very real group of attorneys who are uneasy about being in these in-person settings during this time of high alert. I know because I am one of them. Looking back at the practices I was part of only a month ago, this wake-up from Covid-19, to me at least, has made me believe that the workforce is going to see some serious alterations once we get back to “normal”, and those unwilling to change their ways may find themselves fighting to stay relevant.