For the past few months, “when will things go back to normal” has been the number one, most top-of-mind question, for just about every person I know. A long line of considerations come into play regarding when we will re-open our businesses, our community, our states, and our world. That’s where the work of our elected officials comes into the spotlight. I believe nearly all are doing their best to weigh the pros and cons, the benefits and the risks, as they make these critically important decisions that impact every one of us. And while the question of “when” is the one we want answered quickly, right behind it is the question of “how.” How will we gradually re-open, in a way that is safe, and doesn’t elevate our risk for exposure to COVID-19?
Obviously, our elected officials will also be providing guidance on how to re-open. In-line with that direction, I encourage every business owner to take a step back to consider the new norms we will be living with as the world begins to reopen. It’s about more than just understanding them; it is about a willingness to embrace them as we attempt to resume “business as usual,” one day at a time.
Inc. recently published an insightful article, offering some strategies for safe opening. Click here to read it. In addition to the recommendations made by Inc. to maximize staff safety, I’ve heard some commentary about “the classic business handshake” and the very real possibility that many people will forgo the gesture, for the sake of public safety, as we move forward. It makes sense, but will certainly change the tone of our encounters as we meet and greet colleagues, and network.
From a business development standpoint, we need to come to terms with the fact that people will make decisions very differently moving forward about how, when, where, and why to make purchases or subscribe to services that they once considered essential. Yesterday, CNN reported that 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs in the month of April alone; the steepest plunge in national payroll status since the Great Depression. In tandem, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics released data about the current unemployment rate, now standing at a record-setting 14.7 percent.
Clearly, budgets – both personal and corporate – have been thrown for a loop. Needs have changed. Priorities will be different. These factors will impact every business, of every size, in the months and perhaps even the years to come. And they need to be accounted for as you are thinking about how your business can re-open efficiently and recover positively from COVID-19.
The changes that lie ahead will not be entirely evident until we make the shift and the gradual process of re-opening is in full swing. Yes, we will all be adjusting to new norms. It will be important to be patient and kind, flexible and resilient, in both our personal and business encounters. Perhaps this is when we will all acknowledge that our need to remain distant over the past several months has actually brought us all closer together, than ever before.