Making Lemonade out of lemons: What positive takeaways has Coronavirus given us?
Every day we are flooded with negative news about the coronavirus, which is understandable in times of a crisis. After nearly a month of lockdown, the criticalness of it is probably hitting home. It is indeed a never-before-never-again (hopefully!) kind of situation.
Since the outbreak, measures have been taken to limit the spread of the virus worldwide. We are, of course, keeping track of the progress and spread of the disease, making sure that nobody in our circles is affected, praying for everybody’s well-being and hoping we all come out of this situation better and stronger. While we are constantly bombarded with the negative news, it will serve us well to remember that there have been and will be some inevitable good fallouts to the situation as well.
Here are some reminders on how people are making the best of the situation around us.
#Everybody is making a real effort.
Coronavirus has thrown us a huge curveball. The whole world is reeling in its effects, and we will see the after-effects on social life and business for years to come. Yet, on the positive side, it has become a time when people have a chance to soften, and become more accommodating. The work-from-home (WFM) situation has helped us become more adjusting towards our colleagues.
We all have to multi-task and are overwhelmed with juggling the home and work, and are trying to stay productive and make the most of our time. We are able to connect better thanks to the advances in technology. We are trying to make sure work runs as smoothly as possible given the constraints and circumstances, and are also able to see things in perspective.
I often contemplate, is this a more empathetic and sustainable way to work? Will this indeed change our harsh approach to something more alternative in the future? For now, even little goals which are met, or even small milestones which are crossed, are helping boost our morale in a big way.
#We have learnt a little more about our colleagues.
Coronavirus has, in fact, brought the world closer in many ways. Everybody is showing compassion, care and genuinely hopes that we and our near and dear ones are safe. In our regular video calls and connections, we have learnt so many different facets of our teammates and colleagues we wouldn’t have otherwise bothered to learn about.
We sometimes see their children hopping on and off the screen, we have learnt about their hobbies, we get glimpses of their homes, and can make out who is house proud, we have learnt about their home gardens, their love for pets, their love for cooking (or their absolute disinterest in it), their family routines – so many things that we would otherwise overlook. Doesn’t it help us function better when we get a more holistic picture?
#We have become more appreciative, we listen better.
Next time your employee or teammate gives you a genuine reason for not being able to deliver on a deadline, you can definitely listen in more carefully. This is not to say that we can all peddle excuses for non-performance, but I truly believe the lockdown has taught us to be more realistic about life, and look for solutions rather than blowing up the problem.
We have learnt to become better listeners, and it has opened up a more humane facet in all of us. I hope we can continue not taking things for granted when the situation slowly returns to normalcy.
#We are making flexi-work actually work!
Every employee is different. Some of us are suckers for routine. Some of us want something new every day, a new challenge, a new crisis or a new problem to solve. In whatever way we managed to make it work till date, WFM has changed the dynamics, perhaps a little forever. A lot of us may still not have adjusted to it, but the Coronavirus has shown us that this can very well work!
Isn’t that a great thing to be able to have alternative ways of working and making things happen? At the end of the day, in this current reality, everybody is making it work; everybody is finding their spot; everybody is making time; everybody is striving for balance. The key is everybody is trying. And this requires a big pat on the back.
#We are thinking out of the box.
This was always a bonus. Now, it has become a necessity. And necessity is the mother of invention. Come rain or sunshine, we have all decided that WFM will work for us, for lack of other options. Standard systems and processes are not relevant any more. Some of us have had to meet new targets and deadlines, regardless, and we are finding ways to achieve them.
We are finding alternative solutions, alternative ways of working, coordinate way more, collaborate way more than we would have in a regular work environment and everybody is cooperating. It feels ideal and shows us how crises can actually have positive outcomes. Some of these learnings can most definitely slip into the office environment as well!
#WFM has forced us to be more realistic about goals.
Ideal targets, and real targets. All of us know that sometimes we set unattainable and ambitious targets as large corporations and many thought leaders have always encouraged ‘thinking big’. However, the times are such that now along with thinking big, we must also ‘think on our feet’, and making gradual and steady progress is as much okay as doing things in a grandiose way.
All of us will admit that work may not have gone along at a pace like normal but it has definitely gone on, and many of us have made professional progress as well. This does warrant a shout out. This will also show managers to be more realistic in setting goals and targets in the future.
#We have begun to focus on self-reflection and upskilling.
This has been a time for looking inward. Now that we’re locked inside our houses and have nowhere to go, it has given us time to think. Think about our actions, choices and how we can take a lesson from this and mend our behaviour. What makes us better at what we do? We have more time to read, fact-check, spread awareness and literally do things we always wanted to but never found the time for. This is also a time to upgrade our skills and become better, stronger, fitter and raring to go once there is a semblance of normalcy.
#Many leaders may be born.
This has no doubt, brought to the fore many facets of employees that we could have easily overlooked. Who is the guy with alternative solutions? Who makes things happen? Who is calm and thinks in the present? Who is able to pivot if things are not going according to plan? If we pay close attention, we will see so many traits in our team members that we can build upon later, and also encourage in future. It is a situation that will help differentiate the leaders from others and is a true test of an organisation’s culture.
#Finally, it has brought forth a social impact.
So far, corporate social responsibility has been a mandatory exercise for many organisations. Coronavirus has brought us to our knees, literally. There has been so much news going around from being able to see dolphins in Venice canals, to the Himalayas from Jalandhar to Ganga water being drinkable in Haridwar and Rishikesh that have very important stories to tell. There have also been dramatic falls in pollution levels in some of the major cities around the world.
This shows how little time it is taking for nature to take back the reins if humans are not in control. It is a good time to reflect on our organisation’s social impact. It is a good time to assess if we can do business in a more environmentally friendly manner. It is a good time to change our ways for the better, even if it costs a little more.
The news and the times we are in are definitely making a lot of us panic more and making us more anxious. It is more important now than ever to take care of our mental, emotional and physical well-being. So let’s remind ourselves of these positives – that we have made it so far; that we are learning a lot about ourselves, our work, and our surroundings; and most importantly, that we have and will always progress. As they say, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade! So here’s to drinking lots of lemonade.
At Yellow Spark, we design effective employee motivation and employee engagement programmes. To know more please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Profile: Aparna Joshi Khandwala is a passionate HR professional. She co-founded Yellow Spark to work with like-minded people who believe in the power of leadership, which is the only business differentiator in today’s time.