As we approach the end of the 2nd quarter of 2021 this is a good time to pause and evaluate the ebb and flow of the business. 2020 was filled with new unknowns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 2021 is rolling forward in the midst of coming out of that set of unknowns into a new marketplace which has new and different expectations of our clients and customers.
One thing I have noticed, in the first months of 2021 is that many business leaders and staff are not having fun. I am not expecting parties and exuberance but the business landscape as we may have known it in the past has shifted. Organizations are moving forward with hybrid working environments. These are no longer temporary but are becoming part of the way the organization will operate into the future.
As a result of this change, the human interaction between staff is different. There is no longer the casual conversation in the lunch space or around the proverbial water cooler of the past. Employees click on to a virtual meeting and then click off back into the solitude of their work at home bubble.
For some this solitude is a welcome difference in their working world. While many others the change is causing not just conversational gaps but emotional and health challenges. The absence of real personal engagement with others in the office work environment is allowing some added productivity but not providing the social interaction we as humans not just like but have a desire to be around.
As business leaders we tend to get focused on the bottom line measurables of the business. How is revenue? What are expenses? How are receivables and cash flow? What does the sales forecast tell us about the future of income etc.? They are all especially important but the most recent changes in the landscape of business are equally important and short term critical. If you do not have a pulse on the morale of your team you are staring down the barrel of problems. That light you may see is just that – a freight train coming right at you. You cannot run your business by yourself and thus you need people that are in the game with you. The shifts of the past 18 months happened so quickly that people at the moment of the change just moved because everyone was being forced to move. As things continue to open up, people are now being given the time to evaluate what happened and if they like it or not. If you as the leader are not talking with your staff about these dynamics, then you better be concerned about the future of your team.
One thing you can start right away is to add some levity to virtual meetings. Allow for a short bit of social interaction which normally would have taken place if the meeting would happen in person. Do not shy away from celebrating events like big sales, birthdays, anniversaries etc. Give yourself and your team the privilege, time, and space to horse around a little so that you breathe life back into your business. Your team may not know what to or even how to accomplish this approach but because they are talented people, they will not only figure it out they will use it to contribute to the health and wellbeing of everyone in the business.
Struggling to adapt to these new ways of living in a virtual world? Let JKL Associates bring some fun back into your business. Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan and (407) 984-7246 in Florida.