2020 – Takeaways from the year we slowed down
COVID-19 has impacted lives in unprecedented ways. The full repercussions and impact of the pandemic on a broad, global scale remain to be seen. While the virus will eventually be controlled, it’s disruption to our home and work lives has been transformative.
I am working out of my home office, with four grandchildren sequestered to other parts of the house. It feels bizarre to have these dynamic children behind closed doors, only to surface in the late afternoon, five days a week!
And when they surface, we venture outside our pod to take a walk, go to the grocery store, hardware store, or to pick up take-out food, and the masks are a constant reminder that danger is lurking.
There is an excellent chance none of our lives will ever look the same again, and that may not be all bad:
• Working Remotely – Where possible, remote work may become an option. Clients are finding productivity increases that could not have been anticipated.
• Repurposing Offices – Offices will become more for relationship and community building/engagement, leaving the deep work to be done remotely. Creativity requires individual deep work first and the opportunity for serendipitous collaborations to take that deep work to another level.
• Remote Learning – There will be more learning/growth opportunities than ever before. The increasing use of lower-cost, high-tech video conferencing, and communications in our homes will lead to enhanced opportunities to learn and grow.
• Relaxed Work Attire – Our work attire will be different. The move toward more comfortable and casual wear is becoming accepted. “Business casual” will be redefined as even more relaxed.
• Video vs. In-person Connectivity – Video meetings are here to stay. We now have new clients whom we have never met in person. In the past, we never would have tried to get a new client without a personal meeting. Technology has enabled us to develop business relationships remotely that could not have been anticipated.
• Reflection – The forced slowdown of our lives has given us time to reflect. Why are we doing what we are doing? Personal and work relationships are hitting tipping points where we have had enough of the status quo. COVID has accelerated these tipping points, and in most cases, it turns out to be a very good thing.
• Family Prioritization – For many professionals, hopping in the car or on an airplane for business was just the way we lived. It’s what we did. We were available in times of need and often in times of anticipated demand. Our families and personal relationships often took a backseat. I used to put 25 – 30,000 miles/year on my car. This forced slow down has proven that kind of time away from family does not have to happen again. The desire for our business has not changed, and it will be wonderful to have in-person contact again. When we resume, in-person meetings will not be as frequent as in the past, and our personal and family lives will be the beneficiaries.
While the pandemic has caused us all to slow down, human nature’s resilience has opened our eyes to the opportunity to live smarter, more meaningful lives from what we have learned.