There’s still a lot of uncertainty out there. As some states slowly roll into return-to-normal operations, we’re all watching closely to see how they fare. But the reality is, no matter when local restrictions are lifted, most of us will return to our offices to face the same dilemma: How to navigate the new business normal.
It hasn’t happened for us yet in California, but when it does, I’m choosing to look at this challenge as an opportunity for growth—a chance to get better. Here are some of the ways I predict we’ll improve our everyday operations post-pandemic:
We’ll see more of one another. Like most everyone else, our team is using way more video meetings these days, primarily on Zoom and Microsoft Teams platforms. As a company with a national footprint, we had been in the practice (or rut) of using audio conference calls. Now, through this experience, we’ve found virtual face-to-face meetings more productive than audio calls because we’re much more engaged—plus there’s the obvious benefit of being able to share your screen for collaborative projects.
We’ll be more flexible. For us at Shamrock, it’s yet to be determined how exactly we’ll manage our team working from home—likely for a grace period, but probably not indefinitely. But we now realize that for many of our roles, we can function remotely. Moving forward, we’ll be even better prepared to pivot when situations arise that take us away from the office.
We’ll (eventually) be healthier. Hopefully this pandemic will encourage people to stop coming to work when they don’t feel well, but instead work from home.
We’ll innovate. It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention—and these past two months have shown us just that: Without being able to meet face-to-face, we’ve automated more HR functions; due to a smaller crew in the warehouse, we’ve streamlined our fulfillment functions; needing to create a cleaner, healthier work environment, we’ve added new sanitation protocol in our distribution centers; and responding to customer need, we’ve opened our supply chain to better drive product availability.
I think a lot of this was already happening due to the advancements in digital technology, but COVID-19 accelerated the progress. Many things will change overnight; others will not. This includes handshakes! I just worry about the awkwardness—one person extends their hand…and then nothing. Or do we elbow-bump? Nod? I read an article that suggested a bow or hand-folded “namaste” gesture as a greeting. (See what I mean by “awkward”?)
At the end of the day, you have to arrive at your own comfort level—do what feels right. But also take into account what works best for your customers: Shamrock is a boutique, relationship company. On one hand, we don’t want to change our personal approach to connecting with clients. However, if our customers love the idea of video meetings that have become as personal as in-person connections, then we are ready! And, the upside is it will save us both time and money.
We are ready to watch and see and adapt as necessary to what our clients want. Some things never change…
Join our discussion on Facebook: Are you a hugger? A hand-shaker? A fist-bumper? The world wants to know! Chime in.
Bob De Garmo