I tested positive for COVID-19 at the beginning of the year. Around the same time, several of my family members also tested positive. I consider myself quite lucky because my symptoms weren’t that bad. The worst part for me was the brain fog. It honestly made me feel trapped. I felt like I was stuck on a long haul flight with absolutely nothing to do and nothing to keep me entertained. No one is bringing you a meal; there are no movies to watch, no books for you to read or people to talk to. You’re just stuck.
If I look back on my attitude towards this virus before I actually contracted it, I was probably a little complacent about it all. What I should have done at the beginning of last year is approached the problem like I would any other business problem. By doing some research. Had I done so, I would have known that the Spanish Flu had four waves and that the second wave was the most deadly; an insight that may have helped me to better prepare myself and my business for what was coming. Imagine you climbed on the same long haul flight I described above but this time you knew that there wouldn’t be any food or entertainment.
You would’ve packed your own meals, downloaded some movies and podcasts and brought along a few books or magazines to read. Preparation and planning are key characteristics of a strong leader. In the case of COVID, I need to do my best to plan ahead so that I can help my team prepare for what lies ahead.
Adapting the employee experience
Today, so many businesses are focussed on experience. We seek to create a good experience for our customers so that they do business with us again and, hopefully, so that they promote our products and services to others. We also want to create a positive experience for our employees so that they’re happy in their jobs and so that they are as productive as possible.
With so many people working from home, this means considering each individual’s broader ecosystem. Strong leaders must start thinking about their employees differently. Sure, they may still be working a 9am – 5pm job but with their work moving into their homes, the interplay between work life and home life will be very different. It would be unrealistic of us, as leaders, to expect them to work in the same way as they do when they’re in the office. At Nebula, we’ve made changes to our sick leave policies and we’ve started sending meals to employees who contract COVID-19 because we understand that this is an unprecedented situation and it demands that we adapt.
In providing this additional support to our staff, we’re showing them that we care and enabling them to pay it forward in the event that one of their co-workers get sick and they need to pick up the slack.
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