Returning to a "normal" work life, post Covid-19
For many of us, June marks the start of Australia opening up again following COVID-19 and, consequently, marks a return to our "normal" work lives.
In reality, returning to the office is going to look different for each of us, so it's difficult to comment on the perfect next steps and there's no guide for 'How to transition back to work after surviving an international pandemic that turned your world upside down'.
Whilst many people can't wait to see their colleagues in real life again, just as many will find in-person contact jarring and wildly more difficult than it was previously. There's no perfect way to make the transition out of our lockdown lifestyles, but below are two very useful tips that will help make the experience much more practical, and enjoyable.
1. Learn from your lockdown experience
Over the past few months, we've all had to adjust not only our working conditions but also our mindsets. If you look critically about how you've operated since the beginning of lockdown, I'm positive that you'll be able to identify some new tools that worked really well for you. Perhaps it was taking your lunch break earlier, or working in the sunshine when you could, or perhaps it was spending 10 minutes a day checking in with yourself and how you're feeling. If one of your lockdown practices made a positive difference for you, don't chuck it in! Try and apply anything positive to your new work normal - it will be worth it.
2. Be kind to yourself
I recently read an article that compared the easing lockdown restrictions and our return to "normal" life to being a solo voyager in Antarctica for 6 months. When an Antarctic explorer returns to mainstream society they are shaky; once simple activities now seem straining and difficult, interactions with the people they've longed to see for months can feel awkward and forced. This phenomenon is all explained by science and boils down to this - they have to detox the isolation from their systems little by little until the ground is solid again.
Just like the Antarctic explorers, remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself time to warm up to your interactions with colleagues and clients again, and don't feel ashamed of stepping up your workload gradually.
Now for those of you who need to re-evaluate your marketing post-COVID, it is going to be even more tempting to push this to the back of your mind and think 'not worth it’, or ‘why plan for a future that could be, literally, anything?' We understand that your motivation to start marketing again may be zilch, but a key part of moving out of business "survival mode" will be to start thinking and planning for the future of your business. Nothing screams dedication to the future like marketing efforts aimed at bringing in new customers, or reawakening awareness of your brand for past clients.
But much like how our individual working conditions and mindsets have changed, the marketing landscape has shifted dramatically in a COVID-19 world. With the changes it can be so difficult to know where to start, but here are two insights to help you on your way.
3. Go back to basics
Going back to Marketing 101 is probably the last thing you want to do, but trust us, even a cursory look into your foundations will make it much easier to dive back into marketing. Ask yourself, what does your business stand for? What problem are you solving for your clients? What impact are you having on the world?
You might be surprised by how your priorities have shifted in a few short months.
4. Practice empathetic marketing
If there is one lesson we all should have learned about marketing during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is that audiences no longer want a product without purpose. There is a whole new need to balance profit generation with social responsibility, and this has been reflected by brands all around the world who are practicing empathetic marketing to show that their business has more in its soul than dollar signs. When starting to plan your regular marketing content post-COVID, don't be afraid to show your vulnerability as well as strength and be conscious of where you can combine what's good for you with what's good for the world.
As we all start to return to our "normal" work lives, remember that the fact that there isn't a formula for smooth transitions and success is not a bad thing. If we've proven anything in the last few months it's that businesses are adaptable, and the strength of humankind to come together and make things work is extraordinary.