The effects of the pandemic may be far from over, but we are moving backward restriction-wise. While we may be reversing in a sense, we don't want to necessarily take backwards steps. In fact the opposite is true; it's the time to move forward and in a different direction. I, for one, don't want to revisit the "old normal".
There was a tonne of shared anxiety going into this pandemic, we were having to navigate something most of us never ever could have imagined we would have to face. Most of us have probably more or less got a feel for things now, but just as we settled into our new routines, ways of living, business solutions and procedures, BOOM! The rug is pulled from under our feet again. Now we face the opposite phenomenon: post-iso anxiety; venturing back out into the big, wide world, not wanting to return to exactly the way things were, but not sure which path to forge forward.
So let's tackle the question on many minds: you've made it through iso, now what?
Slow and steady...
It's OK to take things slowly. It's just like that golden piece of advice a loved one has probably given you more than once while you're going through a period of stress: just take it one day at a time.
Whether you're a biz owner or an employee, suggest getting the team together and discussing how you're all comfortable moving forward. You might be feeling ready to charge back into 5 days a week in the office from 9-5, but your teammate may be experiencing some serious worries and wants to be introverted in a cocoon on the lounge forever (yes, hello!). Try to be sensitive where you can, it's OK to not feel 100% comfortable throwing caution to the wind, and it's also OK to be eager to get back into the swing of things. Whatever the solution for you, take things slow and steady; a sudden complete changeover could leave you with running on empty and a case of whiplash.
Leave some things behind...
Even if you're feeling pretty keen to get out of iso mode and sprint down to the pub for a schnitty, try to keep in mind the things that iso has taught us. It hasn't all been bad after all, has it?
This can apply to both your personal and your business life; if iso revealed anything it's that we were going a bit too fast and hard. Think about ways you can reduce your environmental footprint, be gentler on yourself, be more self-sustainable, slow down a bit.
What lays ahead is far too complex for anyone to predict. There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding what the future holds for us and we can't determine which way things are going to head. So, it's best to be prepared and ready for whatever the universe throws at us (because who the hell could have predicted this bizarre AF year?!). Look at your budgets and options and create solutions for two or three different scenarios. Be conservative but optimistic and seek out opportunities you may not have considered before. Think of ways to collaborate and other ways to exchange services with fellow businesses that may not involve cash exchange.
It's entirely possible that there has been a shift in who you're resonating with and where the demand lies. Invest some time in reevaluating your audience and take a look at what the numbers are telling you: where are there gaps? What are they searching for? Is what you currently offer no longer relevant? Can you provide a solution?
So as we emerge from the pandemic, my final piece of take away advice is this: there is no right way to do this. No matter what you might be led to believe, no one can predict how this will continue to unfold, what the impacts will be, or how long they will last.
So be kind to yourself, be patient with others, take it one step at a time, build strong foundations, keep what still serves you and ditch what doesn't. Understand that everyone will handle it differently. And, if it all gets too much don't be afraid to reach out for help - mental, physical, biz... whatever it may be... and if we can lend a hand, a shoulder to cry on, or a leg up; we're only an email away.
WORDS | Lucy Francis, TLSE