How do we comfort one another through a computer screen? How do we wipe away tears without breaking the ‘avoid touching your face’ guidelines? How do we possibly come to terms with our new normal?
In the past week, I’ve been on a lot of Zoom calls. A lot. Most were work-related, but a few were deeply personal. Two holidays and a funeral – occasions to connect with family, friends and strangers around what is normally a time of gathering and celebration. Instead, we are in a time of separation and uncertainty. To experience these events virtually is surreal, to say the least. We are forced into inhuman activity to protect ourselves.
Our COVID-19 reality leaves us scrambling to respond and preparing for a marathon. It can be hard to pace yourself. It can feel like we are accelerating through a blind path, but we are shifting from reacting to preparing for what is to come in the short and long-term. We are not going to replace funerals, Passover Seders and Easter brunches with Zoom going forward, but we are for now. This makes me wonder, what will be the lasting impacts on other behaviors? Are the days of flying 1000+ miles for a one-hour meeting over? Is the handshake dead? There are many things I have been thinking about lately; but there have also been many lessons gained from my recent Zoom experiences.
Embrace the moment: It may not be the experience we want, but it is the one we have. Rather than feeling helpless, seek serenity and the opportunity. It may be focusing on what you do best or addressing those things that always seem to remain on the back burner. Focus on the why, and the how will become more obvious. Just keep true to your brand ethos like Barcelona Wine Bar.
Prepare people: Many of my Zoom companions are learning how to use new technology for the first time…and the importance of muting yourself. We are all experiencing new things and being forced into new routines. Anyone navigating remote learning can relate. Your people need support, recognition and community. Customers need to be assured of supply and employees need to be seen.
Connect: Physical separation cannot mean social separation. We are being reminded of the power of a phone call and the potential of a video chat to connect with those we cannot visit in person. Partnerships are being formed and competitors are collaborating. Connection is a precious touchpoint for colleagues, customers and your own well-being.
Look beyond: We look forward to next year’s holidays and times we can gather again to celebrate loved ones. After this scramble to react to the unprecedented suddenness of the change, we are looking ahead to the coming months and beyond. Speak with your risk management experts to plan for your business, anticipate demand and identify potential weaknesses in supply chains that can cause disruption.
After years of feeling technology was separating us, it is bringing us together in new ways. Education, workouts, shopping, activism and community are all in a virtual limbo. Innovation is leading to opportunities and forcing us to rethink and prioritize business and life. It is the tension between the personal and collective that is being seen in a new light. That’s a good thing!
We are in uncertain times, and no one knows exactly what is to come and when. Uncertainty of this level is not something most of us are used to. Connect. Communicate. Care. We will get through this and hopefully be better for it. Social media and technology are delivering in this moment the way intended, to connect people in meaningful ways.
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