Little by little, we are starting to re-experience things we did before Covid-19 and finding them completely different. Whether it’s in-person facilitation or a lunch out at a restaurant, things have…changed. And it’s starting to be even more...
Little by little, we are starting to re-experience things we did before Covid-19 and finding them completely different. Whether it’s in-person facilitation or a lunch out at a restaurant, things have…changed. And it’s starting to be even more clear - we don’t know yet what’s going to be different when we “go back”.
Why is that important for business?
Our first experiences doing things we used to, pre-Covid, are an interesting opportunity to preview some of the things we are going to have to start thinking about. Are people really comfortable returning, or are they feeling pressure? Can I write large enough to be seen in a room with social distancing? How do you hand out a handout, when no one wants to touch anything that’s touched you?
Adjusting for these new needs can be paralyzing.
It’s also interesting to note how much non-verbal communication happens with the mouth until it’s covered by a mask. Snark, for instance, doesn’t make it to the eyes. Eye contact in general suddenly becomes more important – like watching a foreign-language movie with subtitles, there is no looking away.
There’s lots to figure out, but you can’t think of everything.
We imagine we will be doing all of the same things, just with a mask on or further apart, but there is so much more than that. We even need to relearn how to hug during a pandemic. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/well/family/coronavirus-pandemic-hug-mask.html?fbclid=IwAR0VvDkNNu3-871yBS52rSimvnF8QQYM63CtuK3cJ0f51xDVlDvCZBeudu4
Returning to work also reveals a lot of power dynamics we perhaps hadn’t noticed before. Suddenly, wearing masks or not wearing them has significant meaning, beyond safety. There is an unspoken dialogue hiding behind a lot of our decisions, and as leaders, that adds an extra layer of complexity. Navigating these rules is the toughest business decision we have faced in a generation.
Whatever you come up with in your business, you have to make it clear that these are not the rules forever; you have to make a commitment to listen and re-evaluate. Make sure people know that even if they aren’t comfortable with the rules as they stand today, they haven’t missed their opportunity to be heard.
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