For most of us the last few months has forced us to live very differently. Perhaps key workers may still have some sense of normality, albeit their working practices will undoubtedly have changed.
This time has provided many of us with the luxury of head-space, (for some, sadly, possibly too much) and the opportunity for reflection and to re-assess our lives, our values and beliefs and reconnect with family and friends. For some this may result in life changing decisions.
Not being able to travel very far from our homes, go on holiday, go to bars and restaurants has forced us back to a simpler way of life. A lot of people that I have spoken to have realised that the simpler way of life has lead to quality of life and they don’t want to lose it.
For some businesses, the thought of allowing their people to work at home before COVID-19 was unthinkable, believing it to be impossible. Overnight many businesses were catapulted into having their people work at home and manage a remote workforce, including call centres; which even I, as an advocate of flexible working practices was unsure how it could work. However, for countless businesses and people it has!
COVID-19 has forced businesses and individuals to be innovative and whilst I think most of us agree that we wouldn’t want to live like this forever, having a better work life balance is ultimately what most of us want to achieve.
I love Nicki Peverett’s Poem – WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT, which made me realise that we have all been in the same storm but our boats range from a canoe with a hole in it to an ocean liner and anything in between!
Experiences during this time, for businesses and people alike have undoubtedly been very different. Some businesses will thrive because of the pandemic, others will fail. Parents of school age kids have been juggling home schooling with working at home, being at home all of the time and being relatively confined with nowhere to get away – potentially overwhelming… Others have been on furlough, perhaps with nobody at home and nowhere to go – an isolating experience.
Undoubtedly there have been many down sides to this experience, but potentially there have been as many if not more benefits of COVID-19 – depending on your personal experience. One huge positive that many are welcoming is how nature is flourishing and the environment has started to recover in a very short period of time. Something else we really need to hold on to and continue.
Getting back to some kind of normal
As lockdown starts to ease and businesses are begining to think about bringing their people back to work, how will your business operate moving forward?
- What have you learned during this time?
- What has worked well or better and what has been challenging?
- What have your people learned and how do they see their future both at work and in their personal lives?
Now more than ever businesses are going to need their people to be engaged and excited about getting back to some sort of normal and getting the business back on it’s feet. We all know that what was normal a few short months ago will probably never return. Do we even really want it to?
COVID-19 has without doubt provided the world, particularly the developed world, with the opportunity to make some radical changes – we have had to – so why change back? Whilst there have been many negatives, there is a sense that for many there have been far more positives. Businesses need to make money, but consistent exponential growth year on year doesn’t need to be the primary goal. Businesses can grow steadily or – perish the thought – not grow in financial terms, but focus on providing customers with great products and or services, enable their people (and the owners) to have balance in their lives and ensure that they don’t negatively impact the environment. This doesn’t need to be a dream it can be made a reality.
Develop the back to work vision.
- How is your business and your people going to hit the ground running?
- How can you keep your customers and your people safe?
- What is the short term strategy?
- Has your perspective, beliefs and values shifted in this time?
- How many of your people have done the same?
- How are you going to support the mental health and well-being of your people?
Every business has differences. However, at the moment the similarities are greater – we are coming out of the storm, it is now a case of steadying our boats and supporting our people during this time to enable them to help the business weather the storm…
Engage and excite your people with your vision for the future by running a Re-Introduction Induction. Show them how much they are valued by outlining how you see the future of the business and the key role everyone plays in bringing the future to life – safely.
Empathy, communication and collaboration is the key!
Onwards and upwards.