One freaking year. We are at one year into this crazy pandemic. The good news is that vaccines are on the way. The bad news is that it’s still going to take a while to recover. Some of us have faired okay, others have thrived, while others are drowning. We’ve had multiple flavors of pandemic depending on where you live, what industry you are in, not to mention your personal mental and physical health. It’s been a lot. Like a lot, a lot.
At BOOST we’ve certainly weathered some storms, but we’ve come out more focused and determined, to say the least. Looking back, here are some observations and lessons learned from the past year.
Communication. We all stress that it’s the most important thing, yadda, yadda, yadda. This was the year where communication either made your team stronger or broke it. It’s a heavy lift when everyone is virtual, and the world is crazier than ever. People are tired. People are over-zoomed, but yet, you must overly communicate these days. A recent study showed that we’re over-utilizing our brains and bodies because we’re trying to compensate for the lack of body language clues. No wonder we’re so exhausted after a day of working from home.
Virtual. BOOST was already a virtual company, but we were a company of folks who had childcare, spouses working outside the house, etc. No one was prepared to full-time home school, share bandwidth, and juggle the “whose conference call is more important” dance. Eventually, everyone settled in, but it took a while. Difficult decisions were made. We lost employees who just couldn’t work. We’ve realigned salaried employees to be hourly, so they had the flexibility they needed to take care of their families. We’ve been extremely flexible on when people work and pretty much gave up on core hours. As long as the work gets done and the clients are happy, that really is all that matters.
Grace. We’ve all been in low places throughout the past year. Stress levels are high, no matter how well adjusted you are. We’ve tried to extend as much grace as humanly possible knowing that people are simply not functioning at 100% in any area. The world isn’t at 100%, but that isn’t at a sacrifice to our business. Performance issues still need to be addressed, if from afar.
Planning. It’s darn near impossible. We’ve shifted our timelines and our expectations for future planning. While the big picture doesn’t change, how we get there may. We’re planning for a quarter at a time right now. I expect this will get back to annual planning but for now, this is the best we can do. And that’s okay. Planning is still very real and very necessary. We don’t recommend throwing it out completely but allow yourself to break it into smaller, more achievable chunks.
New Stuff. If there was ever a time to say screw it, let’s try something, it’s in the middle of a pandemic. We had some success (new offering – marketing and branding for GovCons!) and we’ve had some failures (one commercial client). But most importantly, at least we tried. Better to know than not. Those pieces that stick post-pandemic (that’s a thing, right?) will be stronger and more resilient for having been born of a trying time to begin with.
Humor. If you can’t laugh at all the bat-shit crazy stuff that’s happened, you’re doing yourself a disservice. If the options are to laugh it off or cry it out, which one would you rather do? We would rather take responsibility for the pieces we can, adjust the pieces possible, and give a good chuckle to everything else. (Except for good yoga pants, we’ve realized that those are no laughing matter.)
Combining all we’ve observed, everything we’ve learned, and the knowledge that we’re still here and still kicking, we’re going to give ourselves (and all of you) a passing grade for year 1 of the pandemic. Congratulations! Your reward is to keep on, keepin’ on. As is the case in the typical business fashion we’ll make new discoveries, try new things, and always strive to grow and succeed. Nothing like a little pandemic seasoning to flavor the future. Our advice is to continue washing your hands, wear a mask, and make good choices for you and your family so we can all get back to hugs and handshakes.