Navagating the new world.
We're all in shock, the world changed overnight. How do we reorganize and keep moving forward?
A FEW IDEAS FOR STICKING TOGETHER AND MOVING FORWARD.
I've been having daily conversations with owners about navigating the new office landscape, and I liken it to a tidal wave. The boat has tipped and the goal is to notice where you are now, and outline how to utilize, sustain, or increase your current resources to stay afloat. I say, start working with new and existing teams to collaborate, brainstorm, and help each other build a raft that can serve the most people effectively. Then use generosity and gratitude to increase buoyancy, Begin with compassion, empathy, respect, and appreciation for your life, family, and team, and give people time to process their emotions. From here try to establish shared understandings of your interim plan and how each person can be part of the solution. Remember a captain needs a functioning crew, so check-in to see where your team is, even if they have been laid off. Reach out even if it's uncomfortable. Rough seas require a deeper level of care and connection. Continue to update your definition of success, and put the small and the large on the scoreboard. Help as many people to shore as possible and be kind to yourself as you attempt to navigate these uncharted waters.
Take baby steps and try to get clear about what you can fix now and what you can't, then take action in the direction that feels most right.
Accept the old way of doing things is gone and mentally prepare to remove assumptions, rethink old paradigms, and explore new ideas. Moving forward will require you to think, communicate, and connect in a new way.
Plan and prepare to meet the new office landscape with social distancing plans and implementable solutions to minimize health risks. Also, consider emotional support for you and your employees to transition back into the new normal. This may include on-site counseling, meditation, or mindfulness practices.
Consider getting help by seeking thought partners to help with strategy and planning. Issues like low cash flow, loans, refinancing, savings, retirement, layoffs, restructuring, or closing the doors are issues you can't handle alone.
Recalibrate daily, weekly, or monthly as needed. Ask, what needs to evolve?
Your office landscape may need to evolve.
How to comfort a skeptical workforce:
Evolving your process.
SOCIAL DISTANCING without EMOTIONAL DISTANCING
There will be a learning curve for business owners as the world moves into a new way of interacting and working. The furlough effect will take it's toll as people begin to reenter the workplace and refuse to return to a non-6-feet optimized environment. This may directly affect your ability to hire and retain good people. As you structure a new path, it will first have to be about adaptability and then productivity.
1. Have clearly defined processes and procedures for keeping employees safe and accountable.
2. Be empathetic and compassionate and offer resources for emotional support during the reentry process. (Virtual or inhouse)
3. Stay current on what the government and national health organizations are recommending business owners do in order to keep their employees safe.
4. Be willing to reassemble your existing office without putting employees at risk to save costs.
5. Offer stay-at-home solutions by subsidizing home workspace furniture and technology.
Evolve your space plan.
SOCIAL DISTANCING without ISOLATION
Some offices can't simply reorganize and may need to remodel or replace existing workspace furniture. Social distancing designs will need to satisfy distance requirements, without making people feel isolated. Clear panels are a great way to create a feeling of open protection. According to workspace furniture expert Jeff Pochepan of Strong Project, in the wake of Covid-19, taller panels are probably going to make a comeback as cough/sneeze barriers, but they won't be fabric. They will be cleanable material like laminate, glass, acrylic, or marker board with interior dividers (tack boards) made of antimicrobial fabric coated with finishes like Nanotex for stain resistance and ease of cleaning.
SOCIAL DISTANCING IDEAS
Ideas for conserving costs and updating existing furniture.
Use simple panels for protection in medical or general office environments.
Ideas for financeable phase-in or replacement options.
Choose workstations that provide 6-9 feet of social distancing protection.