Why things are different in Lockdown 3
Much as I’m sure you have too, the TBC team has had to “pivot” (ugh) and adapt how we work and behave as a business through 2020. We’ve had to balance a new way of working and living to take us into 2021.
These are my observations on why I believe the next 8 – 12 weeks will be different and, not necessarily all better, but predominantly so.
1. We’ve done it before.
A big cause of anxiety is uncertainty. Uncertainty creates lots of unfinished ends in our heads, and we hate loose threads. We carry these around, and they end up in something called ‘cognitive clutter’ which leads to cognitive (over)load. In the spring of 2020, we didn’t know how long things would last, how we would cope, what we could and couldn’t do and, because we are a positive species and horizon focused, we assumed it would be over, quickly.
This time around, we know what to expect to a far greater degree. We also have an anchor for the positive attitude within us, which is the probability of a vaccine that could bring an end to this way of life and move us towards something we’re more accustomed to.
2. We’re social animals.
It’s a deeply rooted part of who we are, and it’s been integral to the way we’ve evolved. More and more evidence shows a time when Neanderthals had a greater brain size than Homo sapiens. They were also bigger, stronger, and better suited to survive a hostile, competitive climate. What we had was a social capacity for ideas creation simply because we lived in bigger groups. This idea tank compounded and created bigger brains to be able to generate more ideas. We told stories and passed these ideas across to other tribes and through generations. The Neanderthals had to start again with limited learning whilst we built upon our ideas.
Therefore, we find isolation hard. It stymies intellectual growth; it prevents us from sharing and creating new things and building on existing thoughts. It deprives us of a basic human need that’s as essential to our survival as food, water, and shelter.
The change from 2020 is that, unlike last year, we now have ‘bubbles’. We can add people to our bubbles, integrating and spending time with them. And younger children can go to pre-school, which is vital if they are going to benefit from our unique ability to form social groups and share ideas. And we can meet people, albeit one at a time, outside for exercise. This should be taken advantage of – reach out to people as individuals, meet them, share ideas, gossip, and laugh.
3. Zoom, Teams, Remo, Google Meet and more.
Remember when these were things that only a small percentage of us used? Many were unaware they even existed! But now, they’ve given us a communication lifeline, enabled us to work, educate and stay connected… but it came with a price. I wrote a blog last year about the impact of zoom weariness; however, things are different this time because we’ve already adapted.
Our brains are used to the medium of using a screen. We’re less paranoid about our hair, our clothes, and our backdrop. Professionalism is starting to “look” very different – not worse, different. I see a positive trend towards valuing people more for what they say than what they are wearing. This means we can get more done and more efficiently. For example, I know of a high profile public service firm that has recruited over 40 new staff
members in nine months with not one of them ever visiting the office or meeting each other to date. So, this ‘new normal’ of online meetings can create incredible opportunities for you.
4. Outsourcing is the new employment.
The surge in online platforms has meant a dramatic shift towards accepting that if people don’t need to work at home, why do we care where they live? It has created a larger potential workforce as well as client base. My Business Manager worked for me for nearly a year before we met. We have members as far away as Wales, Southampton and Durham, whereas we were strictly local before. One company I know has moved its business model from being internationally city-based to time zone based. This has led to massively reduced costs, a 24-hour support team and greater profits. Today’s world is really your oyster.
5. Focus on the future, not the past.
I spent much of Lockdown 1 working out how to keep doing things while at the same time adapting to new stuff. This time around my focus is less about maintaining a status quo and hoping that things will be normal again. I’m much more interested in the future and a way of life I can be comfortable with going forwards. I talked about grieving for a way of life in an article several months ago as we all adjusted. I now recognise that this is normal for now and that fighting it is not a good way to use my energy. This time around, my acceptance of our situation allows me more energy to focus on things I can control.
I totally understand that things are difficult for many people. Homeschooling, isolation, closure of business, not seeing our loved ones. None of us can change any of that quickly. But we’re armed with experience this time around. We know what to expect; it’s not new.
Yes, we need to breathe deep, roll our sleeves up and get stuck in for just a little longer. But…together we can, and together we will