The World Takes a Pause

by | Mar 25, 2020

We live in a world today that looks very different than it did even a few weeks ago. Coronavirus has left many without jobs, millions more are quarantined in their homes, businesses of all sizes at risk of going under, and many fearful of what is coming next. But as with anything, some good can be found even under the worst circumstances. Although coronavirus has taken much, it has also given us a most precious and rare commodity: time.

For the most part, we spend our lives running from meeting to meeting or event to event, and so much of our time goes by in a blur. Recently, the pace of life has changed in a way that we could never have imagined. Let’s make the most of the world taking this pause and take time to do three things: reconnect, reengage, and prepare. 

Time to Reconnect

Reconnect with yourself: Take some time to sit, think, meditate, or pray. Clear your mind of the daily clutter and look inward, perhaps for the first time in years. Use the time you no longer spend commuting to and from the office to take up a new hobby. Go for a quiet hike, walk the dog, or pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read – anything to keep yourself sharp, optimistic, and hopeful about the future.

Reconnect with loved ones: Spend time with your kids, call your parents, or reach out to a long-lost friend. Make the conversations last and really listen without the distractions that frequently interrupt our thoughts. 

Time to Reengage

Reengage with employees: Reach out, check on your teams, and see how they are doing. Take this time to discuss career goals, to train, to mentor, and to guide. So often these are the things that get swept aside because we don’t have time to focus on them. Prove yourself as a leader in these tough times and your colleagues will remember it even after things return to normal.

Reengage with your work: Too often in our careers, we face a temptation to maintain the status quo. Facing the same challenges day in and day out can be draining, and it takes a conscious effort to push past resistance to change and make things better. Relish this moment for forcing everyone to pull up their bootstraps. Taking decisive action is no longer a choice; it’s an imperative. That may sound scary but it can actually be good news. Stakeholders that were once naysayers will now get into the trenches and fight alongside you to help you get things done, and that’s something to be excited about. 

Time to Prepare

Prepare for the tough times ahead: Nobody knows with any certainty how bad things will get. It’s your job now to play out the possible scenarios and build a plan for each hypothetical. What will you do if stores begin to re-open next week? Next month? What will you do if the rebound doesn’t happen until the summer? How will you engage and communicate with furloughed staff members until they return? How will your labor model evolve as customers do more and more of their shopping online? These are answers that you should be actively seeking out with the time you have now. 

Prepare for the resurgence: When this pandemic ends, and it will end, will you be prepared? How will your workforce have changed? What does your post-crisis labor model look like? What steps will you take to accommodate customer behavior that had to change during the crisis and is likely to look very different than it did before?

Prepare to succeed: The reality is that this pandemic is unprecedented. It will have a significant impact on the way the world does business. Historically though, when disasters hit, whether natural or economic, the “pent up demand” post-disaster creates a huge lift. Those businesses that are well-prepared can capitalize on this demand and come out stronger and pick up market share. The businesses that have the foresight and the courage to adapt will thrive in the new economy created post-outbreak. Are you taking time now to prepare for this future success?

In the days and weeks ahead, stay tuned for more communications from Axsium as we will be providing tactical information, guidance, and recommendations to help you manage this situation as effectively as possible.

The first of these communications will be a live, half-hour webinar taking place this Friday, March 27th at 12:00pm EDT (9:00am PDT and 4pm GMT). Add this event to your calendar now and you will discover:

  • Innovative ways retailers are accommodating the changing needs of customers
  • The outlook for retail in both the short and long term
  • The effects that new in-store behavior will have on your labor model
  • How to effectively implement new configurations in your WFM system


John Liebler

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