Photo by Michael Soledad on Unsplash
It’s safe to assume the past three months have been the most challenging and disruptive period for all of us – both in our personal lives and work lives.
As I reflect on the significant adjustments and leadership decisions we had to implement over the past 90 days to navigate the pandemic, there are five things that stand out as positive outcomes which will serve us well and ultimately strengthen our organization as we forge ahead. While these outcomes are specific to our business, they can apply to most, if not all businesses.
Great work happens when you put your people first
How employees feel in their personal lives affects everything they do – especially the quality of their work output. Someone might be worried about getting sick because they have a compromised immune system. Someone might be terrified they’ll lose their job – at no fault of their own. Someone might be concerned they won’t be able to pay their bills. Someone might be worried about how they’ll school their children and still get their work done. Someone might be worried about their kids screaming in their ear during an important Teams/Zoom call. These are just a few examples of real issues our team members face.
We recognize that dealing with life’s challenges is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Being genuinely empathetic and providing the flexibility for how the work gets done has led to higher-quality work – on time, on target and on budget.
Change isn’t bad after all
It’s human nature to resist change. Why do something differently if it’s always worked before? We were fortunate that we made a significant investment in new technologies and expanded our cloud-based resources as part of our office move in late 2019 and early 2020 – before the pandemic hit. As we began to introduce the new technology and ways of working, it was met with a fair amount of skepticism. Then came the novel coronavirus. These tools quickly became critical resources to support the work-from-home model. Now, these tools are everyone’s best friend
Silos have become less dominant
Our business, like many others, tends to form natural departmental silos as part of the organizational structure. Due to the collaborative nature of our business, we have worked hard over the past two years to break down departmental silos and reimagine our organizational structure to work more closely together. With everyone working from home over the past three months – and not physically interacting within departmental walls – our teams have improved how they work together to collaborate and create great integrated solutions for our clients. The extra effort it takes to thoughtfully connect and communicate with all team members remotely has proven effective.
Getting to know each other even better
This is an outcome I would have never expected given we’ve been physically separated for 90 days. That said, the isolation of working remotely has created a desire for groups to form opportunities to connect and interact, such as video coffee chats, special-interest group video chats and video happy hours. Not to mention the countless video meetings where we see each other’s homes and often feature guest appearances by kids, pets and even a few spouses/partners. Ironically, many of us have learned more about each other in the past three months than when we were in the office together.
Culture can endure
Many leaders have expressed concern about how to maintain a positive company culture when team members are mostly working from home. The key to preserving a strong culture is to have a clear vision and core values that everyone understands and embraces. Whether we’re physically working together or working remotely, our team members understand what is expected and uphold the values that allow us to deliver great work for our clients and help the company grow.
While I look forward to being with fellow team members, clients and other business and community leaders in however the “new normal” takes shape, I’m extremely proud of what our team has accomplished. We are fortunate to see so many positives come from the greatest professional challenge of our lifetime.