Review & Refocus - Reassess Where We Are & Where We Want To Go
Many of our brilliant members are sharing their insight during COVID-19. We are sharing out their wisdom through the Chamber Blog to help our members during this difficult time.
This blog post is authored by Thomas Lopez who is the founder of Economiworks. We are proud to have Economiworks as one of our Chamber members.
Review & Refocus - Reassess Where We Are & Where We Want To Go
If we harken back to our post a month ago, we were discussing historic low unemployment. At the time, we were starting to see the COVID-19 pandemic crisis creep into our consciousness as a few event organizers were exercising caution in cancelling events. Since then, week by week, we have seen striking and historic measures put into place across the U.S. and the globe to fight the spread of Coronavirus disease, while at the same time delivering a severe blow to the global economy.
While all of the headlines, events, and personal disruptions associated with this crisis have consumed our lives for the last four weeks, it could be argued that we are past the "if" phase of this crisis to the "when" phase. Thus, let's review where we are and refocus on where we need to be now and where we want to be in the future.
Why Does This Matter
The swiftness in which COVID-19 has consumed the world has been striking. With the World Health Organization reporting over 1.5 million cases of Coronavirus disease and claiming over 90,000 lives across the globe, nearly no country has been able to escape this pandemic. As such, we've witnessed government resources and healthcare systems stressed as they try to slow the spread of the disease. The effects of this have halted the economy, leaving workers and businesses in dire situations.
In the U.S., 16.8 million people thus far have filed for unemployment benefits, drastically shifting the unemployment situation, in just a matter of weeks, from near historic lows to near historic highs. Notably, unlike in other periods of high unemployment, which were gradual or specific to a particular industry or geography, this moment hits the economy nationwide and affects all industries and nearly all job types.
Because government officials have applied strict social distancing orders to minimize the spread of COVID-19, which includes forcing businesses to close their doors and limiting people from leaving their homes to pay for goods and services, they have sought to put into place programs that would support businesses and workers during this lockdown period. We reviewed a few of those programs recently. Not without their hiccups or limitations, these programs are providing some relief to those that are eligible or that can get through to apply for these benefits.
Tell Me More
No doubt, all of this can be overwhelming. While for most business leaders being on the precipice of crisis seems to be a constant, we are all in uncharted territory. Perhaps we can find comfort by mostly being out of the "if" portion of this crisis, - if Coronavirus disease will infect our area - yes, if the spread will be as significant and rampant as projected - yes, if we will be forced to stay home - yes, if businesses will close - yes, if people will lose their jobs- yes, - we are now better positioned to respond to the crisis. To be sure, the top expert in the U.S. is cautious about when we can return to some semblance of normal. Undoubtedly, though, we will see the end of this crisis, the remaining question is "when."
Interestingly, ahead of this crisis, we were talking about the rising stress levels many of us were experiencing at work and how to manage that stress by reassessing our situations, reprioritizing our efforts, and reallocating resources to achieve our goals. While we are experiencing a whole other realm of stress from pre-pandemic times, we would argue the same logic applies to how we can approach our current new and future realities.
While some of us are quarantined at home, there are others still working to keep their businesses running. Nonetheless, with no other options but to go between home and possibly work, there is more time to stop and reflect. Some people are picking up new hobbies or enjoying new books, though as a business leader, this is a rare time you are given to pause and really consider what is most critical and important to your business.
It might seem impossible to avoid a "do everything we possibly can" approach, but it would be wise for business leaders to pause and ensure they are focused on the right areas as they fight for their organization's survival. This may seem counterintuitive. However, if leaders do not use and allocate resources wisely during this time, in trying to do everything, they might end up achieving nothing in the long run.
This cautionary note to business leaders includes a reminder for how they are approaching customers, suppliers, and employees. As we mentioned recently, the key to maintaining and leveraging these relationships is by effective communication. This includes offering timely, relevant, honest, authentic and empathetic messaging. Of course, we know that during this period of uncertainty, as recipients of information ourselves from government officials, medical experts, and business partners, information is extremely valuable as it affects how we make decisions and our next move. As leaders, we owe this same respect to our stakeholders.
It cannot be overstated how unprecedented this time is for us all - stay at home orders in place, major job losses, mass spread and deaths due to COVID-19. While we are far from realizing the true impact of this crisis, as business leaders, we are in a position to shape what comes of it. Let's use this time to ensure we are recognizing the issues in front of us, focused on the right objectives, and allocating the proper resources that will position us to navigate through this crisis and be positioned for future success.
Thomas J. Lopez is the founder of EconomiWorks and has over 15 years of experience promoting talent strategies that allow companies to attract, retain, and develop their most valuable resources - their people. With EconomiWorks, Thomas aims to connect business leaders and people with opportunities that will help them meet their goals.
In a busy world, with too much to do and too little resources to get it all done, Thomas hopes to have EconomiWorks help bring order to chaos for those business leaders who need additional resources by connecting them with freelance talent who are ready to step in and help an organization meet their goals. Find out more about Thomas and EconomiWorks here.
EconomiWorks believes that when we work, the economy works. With industry trends such as a knowledge and skill gaps, tight labor market, and increased work demand, EconomiWorks aims to provide businesses with access to freelance professionals across a variety of fields and disciplines such as Accounting & Finance, Engineering, Human Resources, Information Technology, Marketing, among others. Alas, a way to do more with less!