On March 6, I flew to Halifax for a ten-day business trip. Social conventions had already started to change during my stay. Shake hands were scarce, people tended to stay away from each other, and the rush for toilet paper was already in the headlines. It was the Purell era for me.
It was upon my return to Toronto on March 16 that I noticed that things were different. People were wearing masks, they seemed agitated and I felt this urgency to leave the airport as soon as possible.
The changes accelerated since then. The people I meet change the sidewalk, they are for the most part wearing masks and I can no longer see their smile and their eyes are haggard. The lineups to buy groceries are endless, the people I love the most in the world are separated from me and when I talk to them, it is through a screen that I thought was useful only for work.
In the process, George Floyd is murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis.
The whole world went out in the streets to denounce. Denounce racial discrimination. Denounce injustices and inequalities towards everything that is not “white”.
It looked like the social distancing caused by the pandemic has turned into a rallying anthem to denounce. Denounce what has existed for ages.
COVID-19 highlighted the social discriminations and economical disbalances. The pandemic also highlighted what employees used to ask for. What is new is the fact that questions and challenges surfaced in 3D as a result of the pandemic and require immediate attention for businesses to survive.
Leading in uncertain times
What has been significant for our business is to assist those businesses who are surviving on how to develop their ability to leading in uncertain times.
Is your leadership prepared and trained to lead a people-first way of working through this transition?
Are you building a more robust culture of inclusion?
How will you respond if an employee does not feel safe coming back to a physical work site, even though that employee cannot work remotely?
What new benefits should you offer to promote the health and wellbeing of your employees?