For many of us, the shift from our everyday normal to social distancing and stay-at-home orders happened seemingly overnight. There wasn’t time to prepare a phased approach to transition from life as we knew it to the stage where we bunkered down in our homes for work and life around the clock. Some of you haven’t left your homes in weeks.
Now, however, things are heading toward a new stage: A stage where your state is either beginning to open or beginning to talk about how you’ll start to open. As that shift begins, it’s time for you to begin making your own plans. You didn’t have time to prepare yourself or your team before heading into this temporary season, but you do have the time to make a plan on how you’re going to emerge from it.
It Won’t Be Overnight
For many, the swift shift in how things were to how things are happened uncomfortably fast. Change came rushing at us like a runaway train and that alone was unsettling for many. We were left with a lot of questions and a lot of having to figure it out as we went. As if a pandemic wasn’t enough to rachet up anxiety, the unsettled feeling of overnight change left even the most unflappable feeling a least a little off kilter. This next phase, however, is going to roll out slowly. We know it’s on the way, even if we don’t know yet when. We have time to prepare. Start doing your research. Talk to your leadership team. This preparation step will offer both comfort and confidence in you and your organization as you transition into the new post-pandemic world.
It Won’t Be the Same
This cannot be stressed enough: Things may be opening up, but they aren’t going to look the same as they did before. Whether your state is opening now or you’re just starting to get an idea of what phased approach you can expect, things will not be what they were before the pandemic. We may have dropped everything at the start off this, but we aren’t going to simply pick them back up where we left off and march ahead like nothing happened. There will be changes. Be ready to re-imagine your workplace and your workday. You may need to space out office furniture to allow for social distancing. You may need to figure out how to conduct business with face-masked employees. You may need to be open to flexible scheduling or a variety of other accommodations that allow your business to work in this next stage.
It Should Be Clear
These last few months have not been for the feint of heart. As noted above, we didn’t just manage our fears and anxieties about the pandemic. Our anxiety may have been exacerbated by the unsettled feeling of not knowing what we were doing or how to do it. As you begin to make your plans for the next stage of this brave new world, be open about your plans. Communicate clearly and regularly. Yes, the things you plan today may change. We all need to maintain a willingness to be flexible as local, state, and national guidelines evolve, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep our teams and our customers in the loop. Tell your organization and your clients what you know, when you know it. Let them know what you expect next steps to be and be honest about the caveats that might impact those steps. It’s a lot easier to go with the flow when you know the life raft is already packed and ready for you.
Keep What Worked
Change is hard. Many of us resist change because we’re afraid of what we might lose in the process. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of us to change the way we used to do things. It shoved us out of our comfort zones into a territory we didn’t think we’d ever want to venture into.
Truth be told, we should be taking a good hard look at our day-to-day and measure what’s working and what’s not in every season of our lives and career. We ought to be growing and evolving. Sometimes we put growth and change on the back burner; but this season is different. This time we had to make changes whether we wanted to or not.
Some of the adaptations we made along the way are temporary. We’ll shed those things as soon as it’s safe to do so. Some of the new things we’ve tried, however, ought to be added to our professional toolkit. As you start to make plans to transition to the next stage, and then again eventually move out into a post-pandemic world, hang onto the new skills and practices that made you better at what you do. Spend time now evaluating the changes you’ve had to make and identify what you’ll shed and what you’ll keep.
Need help discerning which is which? Let’s talk. Our programs are designed to support you in defining a vision and creating an action plan that will help guide you along the way to achieving your goals. Click here to schedule a complimentary call.