19 May Journey of an Adapting Workplace
Were we all just going through the motions of responding to countless emails with little connection pre-COVID? Squeezing in face to face meetings only when all parties’ schedules allowed? Hopping on flights to go cross-country to see a potential prospect or connect with a customer in person, only to have that client get stuck in a meeting or have to cancel last minute?
How connected were we REALLY before COVID made us stop and assess how we were doing business?
From companies insisting that productivity was higher when people worked from an office and their cultures were stronger when in person, to C-level executives struggling to squeeze in a meeting face to face due to their schedules and interruptions. As a CEO of my own company, I am doing twice as many meetings now via Zoom than I ever would have due to my crazy schedule and travel.
Everything has changed in a matter of weeks.
I am going to go out on a limb and say the obvious:
- Yes, productivity CAN increase when people can work from home and not have countless interruptions or distractions. If they have a dedicated workspace at home that is free from different kinds of distractions of course. They also must be committed to still providing the same level of output.
- Remote cultures can be successfully fostered without being in an office. It takes creativity and engaged leadership to keep employees present and involved. It takes employees committed to adapting and embracing the new ideas and changes.
- Ironically, clients will make more time for you now to hop on a quick Zoom call where prior it was more of a commitment to meet in person.
Our experience has been amazing during these challenging times. Just like all of us, we had to pause, assess, press reset and reinvent the way we were doing business. After 15 years of doing things the same way we always had, we had to shift quickly. I had to embrace new ideas and strategies and my team was on board every step of the way!
We hop on Zoom calls now where we get to see a smiling face on camera for a client/prospect meeting versus a conference call where you cannot see how engaged the other is. You can now see body language and level of engagement because it is as if you are sitting in their office across from them. You can see a fun side of your client who may be sharing a virtual background, to introducing you to their kids and dog. You may have a cocktail together at the end of the day to catch up and decompress.
You may see your team every morning for a meeting to discuss goals and objectives while you are sitting outside in your background enjoying the sun and having a cup of coffee together.
You may do virtual workouts and meditation like our company does every morning at 9:30 religiously.
On some levels I feel more connected than I ever did before because I am not spending hours on a plane to get somewhere, late nights in hotels to catch up on emails and I get to be in my “relaxed clothing”.
I recognize this new norm of doing business has its downsides especially if you are a single parent or if both parents work and your kids are home but so many families are working through this and the upside is you are home with your kids and your family. Hopefully, you have supportive boss that trusts you and empowers you to do what you need to do without being micromanaged.
It’s all good stuff.
I wanted to post some positives since our lives have drastically changed because there are so many stories about how awful this change in working from home or not being able to be with your customers is that someone just had to say it out loud.
There are opportunities to embrace optimism in our current situations and to make relationships with your coworkers, boss, and clients even stronger than they were before.
Months down the road as things start to revert back to normalcy, in some regards, I will miss the client zoom calls and the excitement of getting to know them more on a personal level with their kids in the background. I will miss seeing them on camera with their virtual backgrounds.
Let us remember these great moments we have adapted to and let us take away the core learnings so that we can have more fun and kindness in working together as a nation.