So that was Christmas (but the war is not over)🎶
Is it a déjà vu or Groundhog Day?
Probably a mix of both with a little ‘feeling like death warmed up’.
My family is one of the many millions of Australians stuck in isolation as close contact or sick with COVID. Unfortunately, we are the latter so it’s a fun time with 2 kids under 5 and my husband and I operating at ½ an adult combined (that may be overstated!).
With such high hopes 2022 would be different, it has sent me into a little bit of a spin . . . or it may just be the wave of dizziness that overcomes me at times.
Regardless, I, along with many other business owners and leaders, must pivot (remember the 2020 version of pivoting?) as we operate with staff absences and dramatic supply chain issues while coping with their own family’s health.
One thing that has become vividly apparent is the reliance of our businesses on healthy humans. As this ABC news article highlights, our economy depends on people being able to do their jobs. I’m not going to analyse the political decisions around isolation rules – I’ll leave that to the multitude of commentators who are keen to . . . well, comment.
But I will talk about one of my favourite topics, humans in workplaces.
At this time of year, we would typically be talking about 2022 goals and setting up our operational plans but much like 2021, 2022 is gearing up to be a typically un-typical year. Maybe we just need to redefine “typical”.
So, what should you be focusing on when it comes to the humans in your workplace? In addition to just getting through the day (because, let’s face it, some of us are barely doing that), here are 3 things to focus on.
Of course the HR person is saying communication. But this is the absolute key to responding to a changing environment. Simple things like daily check-ins, effective timely meetings and considering personal communication styles are all on the must-do list. For me, it’s been checking in with clients, changing deadlines and explaining what was possible . . . unfortunately not much right now.
- Fill in the blanks. Don’t let gossip fill any gaps in information or scenarios. Let your people, customers and stakeholders know when you will give them further information on changing situations. As a leader, even if you have no new information, you make that clear. The old adage of ‘no news is good news’ is never the case with this sh#t-show we are currently dealing with.
- Revisit expectations. You have had conversations and established expectations based on old scenarios and plans. These can change for both the business and individuals. Revisit and make sure they are still applicable. That doesn’t mean they are invalid. They may just need to be put on hold. What’s important is having responsive and applicable deliverables in the environment you find yourself in.
If you have always struggled with effective meetings, check out our download to Mastering Meetings based on the 5 Effective Conversations to have in business.
2. Hybrid workplace
For optimists, the end of 2021 looked promising for a return to life as it was before COVID. Many people were returning to the office, cafes were humming, Christmas festivities were booked and I had 4 face-to-face workshops within 3 weeks.
Many large corporate businesses are now mandating working from home with no specific return to the office in sight. As many of us have predicted, the hybrid workplace is here to stay.
Thankfully, the groundwork has been laid for many businesses and slipping back into fully remote may seem like riding a bike; a ride I’m sure we would love to get off. But such is life.
Key learning, if you have the communication right, all remote or face-to-face workplaces will hum – at an, appropriately, socially distanced space 😊
This may seem like a given but what does flexibility mean for your business? Most assign it to how and when people can work but what if we looked at it in terms of moving and changing? Like ‘yoga for business’. Moving from one position to another quickly with proper instruction and foundational work.
We all had a plan or expectation of what this week, month, quarter, year was going to be. Yet things have changed so we need to change positions. This isn’t easy if we don’t have systems, processes and leadership with ‘flex’ in it (ever tried to move from downward dog to upward-facing forward bend in one movement?)
Focusing on the outcome (i.e., the result you need) and involving others in the solution planning, will give you options you may not have thought of. Without flexibility in my approach, my environment and my mindset, I would have been paralysed into inaction and I couldn’t blame it solely on COVID (I do a little though).
Humans are at the centre of this; health, supply chains, workplaces and results. My question to you is ‘Can you afford not to have some strategy around your humans?
Hi! I'm Melissa
I'm a sought-after HR coach, advisor and strategist. I'm also the director of Exceler8. My clients call me their people paracetamol because I help them say 'goodbye' to HR headaches and 'hello' to the perfect people formula to support their business. If you're ready for HR help or transformation, please get in touch.
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