On March 19, 2020, in response to the worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order “… Regarding the Closure of All Businesses that are not Life Sustaining,” //www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20200319-TWW-COVID-19-business-closure-order.pdf. Many Pennsylvania workers were essentially locked out of the office. Governors throughout the United States issued similar orders, though what workers were deemed “essential” versus “nonessential” differed from state to state. Initially, attorneys in Pennsylvania were nonessential, but Ohio attorneys, for example, were essential! Gradually, businesses reopened, but not all employees returned to the office. We learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that, for better or for worse, remote working in many employment contexts is here to stay.
Some professions and business models have been more adept at pivoting to remote work than others. Educators have been teaching cyber school and online college and graduate school classes for years. Telemedicine, once a novel way to reach patients in rural, underserved communities without access to hospitals or medical specialists, is now available to anyone with a computer or smartphone.