Across the globe different families, businesses and individuals have all had to cope with extraordinary circumstances which could not really be planned for or anticipated. In this challenging climate it is all too easy to focus on the negatives and the restrictions thrust upon us.
However, as a ‘half full’ type of woman I think there are lots of positives too that have been born out of necessity that will change things either for ever or certainly for a long time to come.
FLEXIBILITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Who knew so many businesses and roles could manage working from home? Employees and their managers have had to be flexible and empathetic to those juggling shielding, home schooling, sharing office space and lack of IT resources. 9-5.30 has (thankfully!) been replaced with ‘get the job done’ attitudes. Some of the rules have had to be flexible to reflect the challenges presented to us by Covid-19.
PHYSICAL PRESENCE COMES AT A COST
Now that people have adapted to virtual business meetings and social gatherings, many are questioning just why did we always waste so much time and money on travelling to be physically present. Personally, I would like to see the return of some physical meetings as I believe building those vital relationships cannot always be done online (I know, an odd thing for a Virtual Business Manager to say!)
Working from home has meant new technology has had to be embraced. Many had not even heard of Zoom previously, for example. I think in some cases this area has been overlooked. We are perhaps now used to DropBox, OneDrive and Zoom but what about security? Does everyone know how to make their hub secure, why should you have a VPN, how robust is your anti-virus and what about back ups?
RETAIL HASN’T ADAPTED (YET)
It has long been a frustration of mine that retail in our High Streets has slowly been suffering a lingering death, which Covid-19 has not helped at all! One thing I have seen in other industries is a fantastic energy to adapt and innovate…but not particularly present in retailing. I have long called for clothing shops to just stop one colour and one size of every garment purely for trying on. If you like it great – use the QR code on the tag and it will be delivered to you the next day. The system will pick up that you have ordered a garment and on a display above where you are standing a video will show what you might like to put together with the garment to make an outfit. My idea of heaven!
A MORE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
Many of those with challenges – either a disability or difficult home arrangements have found lockdown a great leveller. On a zoom call it’s not so obvious that someone is using assistive technology, has mobility issues or is trying to cope with the care of generations above and below themselves. How great is that?!
Finally, businesses have had to rethink how they operate, and I welcome this. The rulebook has been torn up, all bets are off! Just because something has always been done the same way absolutely does not mean that it is the right way…forever! Our local deli is selling veg boxes outside the shop, a local café is delivering treat boxes and Macmillan are fund raising by selling virtual murder/mystery party packs. Love it!
So, let’s celebrate some of the good things that have come about that we would never have done if it had not been for Covid-19.
Stay safe, stay sane….and innovate!