There really isn’t an industry that has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are fortunate businesses that have been able to shift to remote operations and maintain their current workflows. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those designated as “non-essential” that have been forced to lay off staff, temporarily close their doors, and deal with the reality of no income.
Some businesses have had to invest in technology in order to work remotely or change what they are producing based on demand. Here at HPA/LiveWell, we provide essential mental health counseling and programs that could not have been interrupted without major setbacks to the progress and mental health of our patients. We have been working with state partners and insurance companies to provide care for our patients remotely, which we had not attempted to do before. We were able to overcome many obstacles quickly to implement a telehealth model for our patients as the pandemic began.
When this “quarantine living” is over, where does that leave businesses? Will the technology and workflows that we executed in a pinch be put in a metaphorical drawer only to be used in emergencies? Or have we learned lessons that can streamline our businesses during normal operations? Could this actually have been a time for growth?
There was a meme floating around the internet when this began that stated: “I guess we are about to find out how many of our meetings could have been emails.” Maybe there is some truth there that a business leader can reflect upon. Did our business lose any collaborative thought by changing that one-hour staff meeting into an email or chat? What went well during this time and what struggled?
This can be a chance for business leadership to look at their teams as well. Did certain people stand out as leaders during this time? Did certain employees strive or struggle with less direct accountability? What could I as a leader have done differently if I had more time to plan for abnormal operations?
It seems like we are just transitioning from the initial craziness of everything changing to starting to adjust to what’s going on in the world and how our businesses need to function during this time. Some businesses have found a new niche in being a community hub, rallying the public into giving back, making rainbows or supporting medical professionals. Maybe this is an identity that will remain when normalcy returns to our daily lives, something your business can continue doing.
Social media reach and views have exploded during this period and businesses are building on and creating new identities with so many people being at home. However, the question a leader needs to ask is: “How will this crisis define us when it has reached its end?” At the very least it will make us realize that snow days aren’t the worst thing that can happen.