The following is an article I had recently published in local business and community publication “The CM17 Connection”.
As the battle with the coronavirus continues, we now find ourselves in a state of flux. With the change in direction to “Stay Alert”, the expectation is for businesses now to start opening up their doors again in order to restart the economy. However, things are not quite that black and white. The last 3 months has introduced a number of challenges (good and bad), that we must work through:
- Working from home – This is a real chance for business to really evaluate the operating model. The success (after teething problems and security scares!) of technology such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts has outlined a new possible. Collaboration and teamwork can continue and, in some instances, improve with remote tool usage. Therefore, does a company need expensive real estate or rental expense? Even the Barclays boss, Jes Staley has stated “Big Offices may become a thing of the past”.
- Social Distancing – Although there is encouragement for more businesses to open up their doors, there is still (in the most part) a clear message with respect to maintaining the required distances and sanitising routines. Again, does this give rise to be a catalyst for process improvement in the workplace? Can more processes be automated or be performed by less people?
- Means to survive – I’d be very surprised if there were many families that have been unaffected financially by the last three months. Furlough schemes, redundancies and loss of markets are unfortunately commonplace. The history books suggest that periods of quarantine and isolation can lead to major discoveries and innovation. During the Great Plague of 1665, Newton discovered the laws of gravity for example. So, what can be done today? Well, if you are a business owner, are there ways of adapting your product to tap into new markets? If you supply to the trade, can you switch to commercial offerings to the public? Having time to break down current approaches and rebuild them, accounting for mistakes or areas that don’t work as well as they could, can uncover new markets or at least position your business more favourably once the market trade picks up.
- Time to shine – If you have found yourself furloughed or unfortunately out of work, what can you do to develop yourself? In parallel to looking for new work opportunities or waiting for furlough to be lifted, can you invest in the most important thing in life, YOU? There are numerous online courses that are now accessible and accredited online. Developing yourself through engagement with a coach can help you see things in a different light, and perhaps give you confidence to explore a business idea you previously had no time to dedicate to.
In times of adversity, there are always stories of success. If we can improve even one area of our lives during this enforced period of recluse, then we are winners. The mental struggles and differences of opinions only serve to prove that we all have the power of incredible thought and potential. Being kind to ourselves and working on ways to stimulate, survive and hopefully thrive will see us through.
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