Though we are still very much in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the past few months and have realized five lessons ranging from what I would have done differently to organizational changes I plan to implement moving forward.
Agility is the new plan.
I wish I could look back and say we were prepared, but like most people reading this, a pandemic was the furthest thing from my mind or the minds of my team members. Needless to say, we did not have a crisis plan in place, and at first, we felt absolutely confused as a team. But what happened after proved that some situations can’t be planned in advance and that all you need to do is adapt quickly and make smart decisions without delay.
In business, it’s common to evaluate economical situations or risks right in front of us, such as a strong competitor. However, nobody expected a pandemic to take place, and many businesses, unfortunately, didn’t overcome this global crisis. At the same time, numerous other companies managed to swiftly digitalize their businesses and win the situation. 2020 has proved that in turbulent times, planning is a life jacket, but only maneuverability can save your life.
Trust and reward employees.
The fact that our company was able to adapt to remote working with the same effectiveness as in the office was surprising to me. Looking back now, I don’t know why I had any doubts. Our processes didn’t require many adjustments, which indicated the high quality of existing processes, including communication methods. And remember that if you don’t trust your employees to be productive at home, you should ask yourself why you hired them in the first place.
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While some companies might report reduced productivity caused by remote work, we experience more issues with work-life balance. Team members are working hard without taking breaks, working at night and working on the weekends. There is no separation between office and home or work and rest. As a result, more people are likely to burn out. We are encouraging staff to take vacations and work within normal business hours. If you haven’t done an employee survey, I recommend you do one to gauge motivation and burnout. Remember to actively promote a healthy lifestyle among your employees and reward them accordingly for their hard work.
Adjust or accelerate your strategy.
Without any doubt, the technological nature of our business helped us to win in this situation. There is an obvious correlation between the worldwide quarantine and the rapid app growth (nearly four times) that Verv has seen in the past five months.
We attribute this growth to an increased interest in health and wellness mobile solutions amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and we quickly adapted to the situation when we realized that millions of people were stuck at home. We added more content geared toward an advanced fitness audience that was previously accustomed to training at the gym or with a personal trainer before the pandemic.
At the same time, we noticed an increased demand for mental health solutions. We shifted both content and marketing to highlight relevant content such as meditations for dealing with stress, relaxing sounds and so on.
Analyzing our data, we can see that users’ motivations have increased significantly in terms of exercise and a healthy lifestyle in general. Quarantine numbers surpassed January’s typical health boost with New Year’s resolutions, and they continue to grow. We’ve adapted our strategy and future plans; we’re not going back to the way things were, and the desire for private, on-demand health and wellness solutions in one own’s personal space grows.
If you can, give back.
It was inspiring to see many people united to help others during this difficult period. There were many spontaneous as well as well-planned initiatives, both at the corporate level and from individual people. It’s great when people’s best qualities are shown in crisis situations. Looking back, we are even more convinced that only together can we build something significant.
We’ve always donated to nonprofit organizations, including those that support athletes of all abilities, but we realize now more than ever how important it is. Giving back can go beyond money; think about what services you can provide for free or at a discounted rate to help those around you.
No one knows exactly what will happen next, as 2020 itself has well reminded us. However, I would very much like this kindness and desire to understand and support one another to remain.
It’s OK to be human.
I’m so fortunate to be the CEO of a health and wellness technology company. It’s the best thing that could have happened for my own personal health. A healthy body and mind have prepared me to lead my company, but it also reminds me that I’m human.
I often ask myself what would happen if everything ended tomorrow. Would I want to live my day the same way? Just like the advice of a flight attendant, you must put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. As in any difficult situation, I have to put myself first to make sure that I am healthy and full of energy, and only then can I show attention to others and business matters. This is not being selfish; it’s the only way for me to be an effective leader in difficult times.
It’s OK to be anxious about the unknown. It’s OK to be overwhelmed. And it’s also OK to be proud if you’re making it through the pandemic on the positive side.
The world is different now. Leaders must look at their business processes and structure differently. Don’t wait for things to settle down, but instead build your strategy and brand according to the “new normal.” It’s taken a pandemic, but we’re more motivated and mobilized than ever.