Five Ways To Flourish Using Pandemic Downtime

POST WRITTEN BY: Melody Avecilla
Founder of Runways Heels, Inc. and CEO of a multi-line insurance and financial services agency.

Pain is an intriguing currency. The perceived value depends on how you assess or utilize it. Will you spend it to reach new heights or drive yourself to hit an all-time low?

Marcus Aurelius is often quoted saying, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your estimate of it, and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

This crisis has been gruesome and the flattening of the curve has been elusive for too long. If this isn’t enough, let’s add the multiple conspiracy theories from across the globe. Some are more creative than others. But is there really a hidden blessing in a crisis?

Rewinding back pre-toilet paper hoarding days, when most of the world was still oblivious to the virus, most of us operated on autopilot. Then Covid-19 hit, and suddenly the world came to a screeching halt.

People can be more receptive to reforming their habits during times of upheaval. Sometimes adversity has a way to reframe our lens and create a paradigm shift. Here are some tips for business leaders to convert this pandemic into an opportunity:

1. Reallocate funds to boost company morale: 

It’s time to go inward and restructure your order of priorities. Suddenly, budgets allocated for business air travel and lodging have been freed up. Consider using those unused funds to boost office morale through: 1) Increasing gamification and making the atmosphere more fun by setting up friendly competitions. Give monetary incentives to winners. 2) Focusing on togetherness, which is also more valued these days. Host a regular company-sponsored lunch or happy hour (virtual or otherwise). Use the opportunity to promote fun team-building activities to enhance camaraderie. 3) Ramping up employee recognition by sending thank-you cards and surprise goody baskets to show appreciation. Giving back to your team, the backbone of your business, is a wise investment that creates wonder and can bring the most return for the company.

2. Invest in knowledge: 

With extra time on hand from less driving, traveling and entertainment, we can reposition those extra hours to enroll in online classes or catch up on books that will be helpful for your company and your role in your company.

Have you always wanted to learn a new language, dive into coding or improve your writing skills? Stay ahead of the curve. Betting on yourself is the wisest and safest investment you’ll ever make.

3. Catch up on abandoned projects:

From organizing your attic to writing your memoir, what has been placed on the back burner can now be front and center of your day. How about the home-based business you were dreaming about for years?

Remember when you had a list of excuses why you couldn’t give back. Rethink your community involvement and social campaign as a team. Be a leader in the community by organizing efforts to thank a health care worker or sponsoring events that would benefit the local fire departments. Giving back is infectious and a concrete way to make a difference. 

4. Reevaluate traditional business models:

Home offices have taken a whole new turn with this crisis. Although face-to-face meetings have been canceled across the globe, surprisingly, workflow and productivity have been more lean and efficient for some with the use of digital apps and virtual meetings. This evolving work structure can mean a time to step back and switch up the 9 to 5 office routine. Time to pause and reflect on long-held assumptions to achieve new horizons on your venture.

5. Renovate:

Have you put off a long-overdue makeover of your office? This may be the time you’ve been looking for to give your surroundings a fresh lift. Make the new ambiance inspiring and let it symbolize boldness and hope. Replace the dull and dreary with vibrance and excitement.

So is this crisis the greatest revealer? Sometimes it’s the toughest experience that transforms you, like how the grapes need to be squashed to make wine or olives need to be pressed to make oil. Your most challenging times can be your finest moments.

Finally, once the coast is clear and we flip the pages of this dragging chapter, the question remains, will your future self thank you, or will you look back with what ifs? In the end, the trials from this downtime can be the catalyst you’ve been waiting for, if you play your cards right.

Founder of Runways Heels, Inc. and CEO of a multi-line insurance and financial services agency.

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