I’ve been joking that it feels like the last 30 days require a daily business plan; things have been changing that quickly. We ask, “what is our priority today and do we have the focus and ability to get it done?”. I feel like Bill Murray in the movie, Groundhog Day, but my day is spent doing everything possible to make sure that Placers thrives and that we do our very best to protect and keep people safe.

There is a pulse to the pandemic. One week we are searching for toilet paper and stocking our pantry. The next week we are searching for hand sanitizer and puzzles are in short supply. In week three, everyone has moved on to searching for baking supplies like yeast and flour. Now, sales are up for in-home beauty items, like hair cutting supplies and hair coloring.

What will it be next week? If the topic was not so serious, it’s kind of fun to think about. If we are all stuck at home for one more week, what can’t we go without?

Consider our trash removal services: we are producing more trash at home than we ever have before, yet our trash company charges us the same amount. It costs them more to dispose of our trash because they pay by weight. You can safely expect to pay more for trash removal in the near future if we are quarantined at home for much longer.

Now our leaders are turning their attention to the reboot of work, our jobs, and the economy. This is the week that those plans will take shape. You can be sure that we will maintain social distancing, we will be wearing a mask, and we will get back to work in some sort of staged fashion. Many businesses are getting their PPP government loans that will allow them to bring people back that had previously been furloughed.

How will you choose to re-enter the workplace? Will you enter full of fear and trepidation or with excitement and energy? Most of us have been at this quarantine for long enough that we are accustomed to Zoom meetings, 12-foot commutes, barking dogs, and homework for the kids (and Mom & Dad!). The new normal is now your habit. How will you reprogram and re-enter the workplace? The world has changed. Your company has changed. How will you change?

Currently, there is a working theory that many businesses may not receive revenue from their old products and services. These businesses must be bold and look at what they do best; read the tea leaves around the new COVID-19 created workforce and workplace realities. Businesses must innovate and create. Many manufacturers are shifting from furniture or cars to PPE and ventilators. Your world may be similarly impacted.

As business shifts and “pivot” to survive, success will be dependent on the decisiveness and strategy mapped out by leaders. Also, success will be driven by the mindset and ability of the workforce to feel safe, while having their traditional workforce needs met.

Some key items to think about:

  1. Resources: Do you have the tools to do your job? Are your priorities clear? Have your scorecard and priorities been reset? How can you get on the same page with your leader?
  2. Safety: What is it that you need to feel safe? Some of this is obvious: COVID-19 workplace standards, social distancing, masks and handwashing. This will involve spreading out workers and limiting the open bullpens of pre-COVID. Be prepared to have this discussion.
  3. Adaption: Everything has changed. Businesses, business plans, and business models. Customers, what and how they buy, and what they value. This is a time of change. It’s a time for you to learn or remember how to drive and exploit change. To understand that you will be left behind quickly if you can’t adapt. You will thrive if you become a change agent. This is what your employer needs from everyone right now.
  4. Creating Value: Never before has creativity and innovation been more necessary for your company to make it and for your job to exist. If you’re in touch with customers, it’s best to ask what problems need solving and to help them, whether you can charge them for that help or not. If you’re an employee, try the same thing. How can you “wow” your team or your leader? This is not a time for prima donnas. This is the time of the team.
  5. Action: Pick a task and do it. Take a break. Pick another one and crush it.

There has been a lot of emphasis in the media on the number of businesses that won’t make it through this planned economic shutdown. Government assistance or not. In an era of fewer jobs and much higher unemployment, employees must realize (at least for the short term) that employers have choices. I am betting on employers picking action-oriented, flexible, team-players who understand that everything has changed. Being a change-maker might determine who gets hired or who stays in a more competitive workplace.

Obviously, all of the above is my opinion. This piece is designed to stimulate thinking and discussion. If you disagree – I can take it! There’s room for both of us! Just drop me an email and let me know your thoughts.