21 Dec Learn from These 2020 Lessons to Find Success in 2021
Maybe the best thing about 2020 is that it’s just about over. There was no way anyone could have anticipated what this year brought and how far afield everyone’s expectations would be thrown.
But for all the unexpected bumps and hurdles, there is much to learn from the year that can be turned into lessons for preparation and success in 2021.
Working from home.
Most companies had no flexible working arrangements that were easy to transfer into full-time work-from-home capabilities at the start of the year. When many offices and companies shut down in March (or later, depending on where in the United States it is located), employees and managers alike had to figure out everything: how video calls worked, whether they had the right technology to make such calls in the first place, how best to keep in touch with clients and colleagues, etc. They also had to figure out how to stay productive while maybe also dealing with an ever-present family as schools shut down. Fortunately, now that we’ve been in this situation for more than six months, we know how to do it. Managers know that their employees can handle more flexible working situations, allowing for a reshaped work environment in which working from home isn’t out of the question.
Flexibility is key.
As COVID-19 hit, managers and employees alike had to learn how to adjust and adapt to challenges in real-time. Having deadlines is great and keeps people focused, but things need to be re-evaluated when the world stops. Does a meeting have to happen in-person to be successful? Could the meeting instead be a video call or an email exchange? The best-designed workflows can still crumble without notice if the normal work environment suddenly becomes unavailable. Smart managers will understand how best to reorganize, adapt, and focus on the top priorities to keep things moving along.
Communication cannot be taken for granted.
A manager might have thought quarterly or annual meetings with individual employees were sufficient to provide an assessment or review. But with COVID, people are dealing with stress and uncertainty, and pressures that were inconceivable a few months ago. For those working remotely for the first time, it’s a good idea to check in more regularly, not just to catch up on work responsibilities but to see how the person is doing in general. Going forward, some employees might be uncomfortable coming back into the office right away; bring up those concerns and address them as completely as possible and with compassion. Everyone is new at this.
Take sick time seriously.
Whether your company offers paid sick leave or allows employees to make up time if they call out, it is critically important to remind your employees that they need to stay home if they’re feeling under the weather — regardless of whether it’s a cold, the flu or other contagious illnesses. If there was a policy of “powering through” illness before, it needs to be thrown out like a used tissue or disposable mask. Public health concerns like COVID need to be taken seriously, and your employees need to know their health matters just as much as their colleagues’ safety. If you’re sick, stay home. It’s that simple.
Support your community and it will support you.
Think back to the early days of COVID-inspired lockdowns. People were coming out of the woodwork to try and take care of their neighbors. Restaurants were adopting and adapting to not only help feed people suddenly out of work but adjusting their business models to offer only takeout or delivery services. While you might not have anything to do with food service, there’s a lesson to be learned about banding together for the greater good and the power of giving back. Are there ways to become more entrenched in your community? Do you offer your employees opportunities to volunteer or host food drives for area food banks? It doesn’t necessarily take much effort but taking care of others is never a bad idea.
Hopefully, this will all be over soon, and we can start to get back to something more like the “normal” we remember. But there will be challenges and other disruptions that could throw things off course again. There are also opportunities to grow and change and incorporate policies and practices that help your business run more efficiently and effectively while meeting your employees’ needs.
Make 2021 a Great Year
As you continue to navigate this difficult time, LeadingEdge Personnel is here for you. Contact us today for more suggestions on learning from COVID disruptions, or talk to us about your employee needs going forward. We’re ready to help you make 2021 a great year!