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  • Writer's pictureVivek Nair

COVID-19 & Social Distancing - Stop Panicking; Start Something New

Corona Virus has taken the world by a storm and almost every social media post or WhatsApp message is about the same. According to the latest statistics, the virus is affecting 173 countries globally with around 2,19,073 cases reported. The virus has claimed more than 8900 lives whereas more than 85600 individuals have recovered from it.

Well, this is not just another post to create more panic for everyone.

Every organization and business have started taking precautionary measures to keep their employee safe. With most of the employees working from home and connecting digitally there is a state of confusion among individuals about how to traverse these challenging times. Most of the workforce is used to getting ready and hitting the roads to come to work every weekday and work closely with their colleagues to get the projects going.

Now #SocialDistancing has put a sudden halt on that. Well, what is the use of challenging times like these unless for pondering and bringing in better solutions for situations?

So let me introduce you to 10 things you can focus on as an employee or business owner during this challenging time.

Upgrade your Skills

With around 29% of the workforce (Forrester) panicked about going to work, most organizations have shut down their on-site operations and allowed employees to connect from home so that they are safe. What this means for you as an employee or a business owner is that either your clients or customers are in a hibernation mode with a very low level of activity been happening.

As a skilled individual, I will recommend to you to utilize this downtime to upgrade your skills. We all have those courses we wanted to complete or that video lectures we wanted to attend. This is the perfect time for completing the same. Join LinkedIn Learning or Udemy or Lynda and kick off those specialized courses you had on your wishlist.

Kick-off those New Projects

Well, if you ask any marketer or a project manager, he/she will have a list of projects which are always on the back burner. Other projects and firefighting tasks always take precedence and these get ignored or sidelined. These are important ones with impactful goals, but gets pushed back due to other commitments.

Don't you agree with me on this? How many such projects you can think of? Well, I have 5 at the moment.

I have good news for you. Now is the right time to dust them off and put some momentum behind it. Run it with your boss (who's also working from home), discuss with team members, get their support, and roll it out.

Cross-Departmental Collaboration

Do you know Frank in the Projects Team? You have always wanted to work with him to get those project videos built. But since Frank has always been busy or due to the busy schedules of both of you, these videos never saw the daylight.

Let me ask you something - Do you think Frank will be super busy now? Yes, you are right, he isn't. Now since the projects and operations will be slightly dull, it is the best time to flag off or speed up your cross-functional collaboration. Connect with your peers and colleagues from other departments and start some projects which will bring immense benefits.

New Content Ideation

Well, this one is specific to Marketers and Content Creators. Now since you are working from home or your parent's place, you do not have to worry about the cmmute or spending time finding meeting rooms at work. As a marketer, you can utilize this downtime for finding and exploring new content ideas.

Build projects around content that you never got time for. Plan your process, document it and kick-off when it is the right time. Identify the right resources, research on some best practices and document how you can implement those in your organization.

Understand Your Team Better

"Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability." – Patrick Lencioni

I love this quote because it includes the words "trust" and "invulnerability". Every team goes through several challenges in every organization but if they traverse through them together, they have a fair chance of coming out as victors. It is during challenging times like now when teams are tested.

So I recommend to you as a leader to utilize these times to understand your team members better. As your team members will be working from their homes, they will be operating from their comfortable environment. As a leader, it is the best time to explore a different humane side of theirs, their aspirations, and their challenges.

Understand them, be there for them, and inspire them. Wait for magic then.

Time to Research

Let's get these facts right - now you are working from home; No morning and evening commutes; No time wasters such as unnecessary meetings; No time wasters like office chitchats. Well, that means you have heaps of time at your disposal.

One of the best ways to utilize this time is to engage in research. Get your secondary research boots on and find all the relevant information about your customers, competitors, prospects, vendors, and industry in general. Another important research you and your team can engage is in finding the right tools and technologies you can leverage for your operations.

Revisit your 2020 Plans

2020 started well for me and my team from a results standpoint. But alas, I wasn't even considering SARS-CoV-2 to come in and mess it up. But we all know shit happens.

Now What? Another best way to utilize your new situation is to revisit your 2020 plans. Make the necessary amends or course corrections and make sure your plan stays on course for the rest of the year. One thing you can do this time around is to keep an eye out for all possible contingencies.

Spend Time with Loved Ones

My next 3 recommendations are a little different, but they are the critical ones too. Working from home, provided you have the right setup, can be a highly productive activity. By eliminating the time and stress of a commute, you are best equipped to deliver your goods.

As long as you are working from home, I recommend you to work on a schedule that included quality time with your loved ones. Every office goer will agree with me when I say at the end of every workday, one is too drained to spend quality time with family. Well, now you can make up for it. Plan your work schedule to ensure you have family time included in your day. Maybe add the 1-2 hours of commute time for that. Trust me, you will be thanking me for this soon.

Focus on Your Health

If you ask any office goer today, the most common challenge every single one of them faces is deteriorating health. And if you ask about the reason behind it, the most common answer you will get will be "lack of time". We all DO NOT have the time for the most important asset of ours.

So now maybe you can make time for focusing on your health. Include an activity into your schedule like walking or jogging or even home workouts so that you build this new habit a part of your routine. Since the conditions are not great in health clubs and gyms, it is better to utilize home workout videos to kick off this new habit.

Start Meditating

For me, the importance of meditation is pretty much summed up in the quote below:

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”Blaise Pascal

I believe meditation can be the solution for most of our problems - physical and mental. I have been an ardent student of meditation but not a successful student so far. But I love the clarity the practice brings me and I recommend it to everyone. Utilize your downtime for building a meditation practice into your routine. Start with a 5 or 10-minute practice using an app like Headspace or Omvana.

Well, thank me later.

So let me end this note positively. COVID-19 is here and it is harmful to all of us. While the scientists find a cure, lets all fight this together by taking the right precautions, supporting each other, and passing on the right positive information. I DO NOT want to panic and certainly DO NOT want you also to panic. As a race, we are stronger and will emerge much more resilient once we put this bad episode behind us.


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