Business as usual? Or business unusual?

red pencil in line of black pencils
Robert Way
Mon 20 Apr

We keep saying it, but I think it’s wrong.

It’s more like business unusual!

BAU is being client side, it’s interacting with people, it’s high fives when we succeed, sometimes hugs when we see people we like and handshakes when we meet someone new. It’s getting around a whiteboard to figure out a problem, talking to our team over a kanban and a shit-tonne of coffee meetings.

So I don’t buy the idea that this is BAU for any business. I call BS.

Until you and I can meet at Gus’ for a coffee and a conversation, it’s business unusual.

I wonder what will happen, if for the next quarter or two we all pretend this is the new normal? Which of our habits will change, what new behaviours will we build? How will business interactions, around how we network and how we work with colleagues change?

Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing sweat pants through-out the day. Suit up top, shorts down below is fun for meetings. But the little bit of laziness that can creep in is a worry. A bit of a later start, early finish and a few to many coffees. Not to mention the kids. I’m feeling for all the parents. I know I’m not built to home-school my kids. Makes me way more grateful for the job teachers do (thank you).

There are some amazing things happening though. I am optimistic they’ll become a habit before the pandemic is over.

Firstly, it’s amazing to see such a large percentage of the contractor and consultant workforce remain engaged with their government agencies. This shows some awesome forward thinking. Plus, the majority of the agencies have (for the most part) brought forward their digital transformation projects. Rapidly enabling people to work from home. Digitally connecting so many people in an unprecedented (for work) way.

If it wasn’t for flexibility, foresight and some great hustle. It would not have been possible for so many businesses to continue operating. Possible for so many people to keep their jobs.

(I will also note right now, that it’s massively fu**ed for those of you that lost contracts, finished up at your consultancies or have been given notice. It’s shit. Please reach out if you are in IT and the team will see if there is something for you.)

I also hope the process of teams getting together for regular video catchups survives the pandemic. If businesses keep that habit up, I can see huge benefit to team cultures. 

Any consultants reading this will know the challenges in keeping a team connected and together when they are working individually on client sites. Most of the time there is a reliance on team online chat for continuing the connection between people. It can work, but what is even better, is that visual and conversational connection that video is bringing.

So, plan forward and continue the virtual standup for teams that are split across multiple client sites.

Another big win will be the increase in content production. All those article ideas people have had, the stories that have yet to be told, will be.

If you have seen online advertising for MasterClass, you have likely noticed the focus on writers. I’m optimistic that being at home will result in more people writing and producing content than ever before.

I hope every individual is investing time into sharing their experiences, insight and passion. I’m confident to say it is worth it, even if it helps one person. Think of the post pandemic world. People will emerge, their writing skills far better than before and their stories out there to inspire.

Customers are going to benefit from this too. Maybe not because of the content itself, but as people get better at writing. So, will the written products they produce at work.

I am also optimistic that the fears around remote working will be dispelled through this time. The job is still getting done! People are in engagements, work is happening and projects are getting delivered. Rollouts of office 365 happening in weeks, not years. New government services getting digitised, legacy systems being upgraded to meet new demands. All good things.

Yes, let’s keep delivering for our customers, we are all essential workers. But let’s also push our thinking a little further into the future, what are we not doing now, that will be important in 6 months?

What have we started doing that we should plan to keep.

But let’s drop the act. It’s not BAU.

It’s business unusual. 

 


Robert helps businesses, entrepreneurs, and driven individuals find out who they are, what they are here to do and how to get there. Connect with him on LinkedIn or at www.robertway.com.au