Do you remember the Tuesday after Boris told us to stay at home?
I walked to my office to collect my laptop so I could obediently work from home as advised but was, even so, quite shocked at the empty street. There was absolutely no one about and no car traffic on what is usually a busy road here in Scarborough. The sudden silence felt really eerie.
We get used to the noise around us.
When you’ve been going hell for leather for as long as you can remember, it’s strange suddenly to be forced to stop. Our whole environment changes in an instant.
And then, last night, nearly 3 months later, I was sitting in my garden much later than usual, listening to the birds who don’t seem to have stopped their singing during this time. Quite suddenly, as if an order had been announced, they stopped. (Time for bed obviously!) The sudden silence felt profound.
We don’t notice something until it’s gone.
We don’t always realise the impact on us of the environment we’re in or the “noise” that surrounds us, whether it’s the rushing around we used to do before Lockdown, traffic, the stuff on social media and the News, the people who surround us (at home and at work), or exquisite bird song, until it changes.
What we also don’t always appreciate is that we do have choices about the environment we live and work in, and we can choose to change it in an instant without that change being forced upon us.
There are so many different environmental factors that impact on us as individuals and therefore as businesses. Here are just a few examples, in no particular order and not exhaustive, that you might not have thought about before:
Now is a great opportunity to design the optimal environment that will be most beneficial to us and our growth going forward.
Consider the iceberg in the water where we are iceberg and the water is our environment. If the temperature of the water increases by just a couple of degrees, the whole iceberg changes shape. And so it is with us: a small change in our environment will lead to a significant change for us as individuals and as businesses.
On a personal level, many of us have taken this time to do more physical exercise, to declutter our homes, reorganise and decorate our offices and shops. This is all part of proactively changing our environment.
On a global level, there is much that we humans can do to improve and respect our environment as our current pandemic and other events are pointedly showing to us – but that’s a huge topic outside the scope of this article for sure.
What about business though? In this lockdown period, we’ve had to adapt and make changes so we can carry on and survive, whether that’s been completely changing our traditional business model, going online, furloughing our people or introducing social distancing safeguards.
And now as lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted, we have to plan carefully for reopening businesses in the new environment which will be this coming period “After Coronavirus”.
I wonder whether we will go back to the same old noise or will we take this opportunity to create something new and kinder and better?
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