“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ~Albert Einstein


As an early adopter of telework and telecommuting, one thing that I find fascinating is how the 2020 pandemic has brought more of my professional colleagues into the virtual world – my world – than ever before.

On July 2, I attended SHRM Hawaii’s first virtual pau hana (happy hour) mixer. The fun-filled Zoom event was hosted by SHRM’s Workforce Development Committee for members to meet and interact online and enjoy a break with a beverage and pupu (snacks) in the comfort of our own homes.  The evening’s conversations provided a much-needed outlet to share personal experiences and lessons learned from the pandemic, build relationships, and expand our support network. The organizer’s set-up “break out rooms” for fun, games, and prizes.

Over the years of my involvement in SHRM Hawaii, I had worked on the When Work Works Committee to promote flex work and remote work in the islands. Last year I served on the Program Committee and explored various methods of virtual meetings that could be attended by members across the island chain. Now due to the Coronavirus, I find it gratifying that more employers are adopting remote work and virtual meetings. While this may be of current necessity, it gives organizations an opportunity to see the advantages (and disadvantages) of working from home as we seek ways to better adapt to the new normal. SHRM Hawaii has recently announced its 2020 Annual State Conference is going virtual this year.

SHRM-Hawaii is not the only organization experimenting with virtual presence and online meeting formats for networking and learning events. In the last three months, SmartSearch has participated in various online discussion groups and programs. The California Staffing Professionals Association (CSP), the Virtual Coffee Hour hosted by Verified First, and StefTalks presented by one of our clients to help participants keep up with the rapidly changing landscape of recruiting, human resources, and how COVID-19 is impacting the workplace.

SHRM-San Diego has partnered with the Sacramento Human Resources Association to present an online HR Mega Conference and virtual summit for California HR professionals in September. The American Staffing Association also announced that the 2020 Staffing World Conference is going virtual in October. 

Beyond the human resources, recruiting, and staffing communities, from telemedicine to online art classes and drive-in movie theaters making a comeback, many organizations are finding creative ways to adjust their business models to the virtual environment and social distancing necessities.

In my hometown, the Hilo Community Players usually presents its summer Shakespeare In The Park at Kalakaua Park, where the audience gathers under banyan trees for innovative productions of the Bard’s timeless plays. The troupe is known to use modern music and imaginative, out-of-period sets to create a fun, engaging experience for the audience. So, despite COVID-19, this year’s production of Othello will be performed drive-in theater style in the parking lot of the Civic Auditorium.

While the virtual world may not work for everyone, it’s one way many of us can stay connected and adjust the way we work, whether it’s in business or our communities. I feel encouraged by this resilience, determination to make a way forward, and how organizations are reinventing themselves in time of the pandemic.

Necessity is the mother of adaptation.