Since January, we have watched Covid-19 grow to a global pandemic responsible for upending our economy, our workplace, and family life. It’s tested any sense of normalcy, and while we adjust to working from home, we’re balancing deadlines with diaper duty and home-schooling our kids or caring for a loved one from afar, all while learning creative ways to stay connected via social distancing and #stayhome.
As we slowly begin to see the curve flatten, we’re all grappling with what it means to embrace our “new normal” at home and at work. On a personal front, we may be more connected with family and friends than ever before. (We’re betting Zoom happy hours and virtual wine tastings are here to stay.) From a business perspective, now is the time to consider the impact of Covid-19 and how you move your business forward in the coming weeks and months.
Five things to do now
- Control What You Can Control
When faced with challenging realities such as not knowing when our workforce may return to ‘normal’, all we can do is control what we can control. An important ongoing theme for us, we discussed the importance of controlling actions and reactions in a fluid situation at the onset of Covid-19 in our March 11 post. When you apply those strategies to your team and offerings today, it will help you develop a vision for prioritizing the practices and projects that will move your team and business forward. We may not return to normal for a while. Take action now to shore up your team, customers, partners, and clients with an updated plan.
- Be Transparent – Over Communicate
No need to tell your audiences it’s a brand-new day – they, too, have been cooped up and anxious. Explain how you’re moving forward, why and how it affects them. Articulate a timeline and give your employees ownership of the plan so they feel like they’re part of the company’s pivot. Contributing to the future of the business by owning a piece of the strategy will motivate your team and demonstrate leadership to your customers and clients. Speaking of external audiences now is a great time to create virtual office hours for your customers and clients, ensuring they know you’re always available to discuss the positive shifts you’re making to your business, and what it means to them.
- Focus on Your Strengths
The offerings people trust and rely upon today must be at the core of who you will be post Covid-19. Now is not the time to position yourself as a brand new shiny object doing something completely different. Leading with your strengths allows you to better control how you execute an updated vision. What’s more, once your new plan is in place you can easily – and quickly – demonstrate how you’re positioned to be even better at what you do.
- Invest in Technologies that Leverage Our New Normal
One thing is for sure, Covid-19 has fostered higher adoption rates of video technologies and content. According to CNBC, Zoom, a subscription-based video communications service, announced users spiked to 200 million in March, up from 10 million in December (and has experienced the kind of issues that inevitably happen with such huge growth on a technology platform). YouTube has also seen growth as new at-home audiences search for new forms of content to enhance professional, academic, health, and entertainment needs amid Covid-19. Such adoption indicates these platforms are here to stay. How will you adopt video technologies into your current content strategies to up your social media play?
As huge believers in podcasts, we know this growing trend can build a new audience of loyal listeners. Coming through Covid-19, your point of view will be stronger than ever, making this a good time to create a podcast of your own. If you’ve already got a newsletter providing key audiences with industry perspective and thought-leadership, consider leveraging that content to start your podcast and extend your reach. If you don’t have a newsletter, now is a good time to add that to your content strategy.
- Make Volunteerism Part of Your Brand Ethos
We have witnessed great examples of volunteerism in response to Covid-19. Those on the frontlines including healthcare workers, grocery store employees, chefs, and community outreach organizations continue to lead by example. Beyond the coronavirus, volunteerism can do so much for your team as well as your brand. Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteer Impact Research study revealed companies that encourage volunteerism improve morale in the workplace while enhancing the perception of their brand. You will want to make sure you’re giving back for all of the right reasons, however. This isn’t for publicity. You’re giving back because it’s part of who you are. It’s in your brand ethos.
Moving forward is not an option. How you do it is what will make the difference between surviving and thriving.