Navigating “Business as Usual” in a “Post”-Covid World

By Josh Childs

Posted July 20, 2022

At one point or another, we’ve all experienced a major stressor in our lives that disrupted the way we navigate our everyday work and tasks. Whether that stressor was an illness in the family, a cross-country move or even just a heavier workload, it may have had a significant effect on our ability to work effectively and efficiently—or even concentrate on work at all. 

Covid-19 is obviously one such stressor. Unlike situational stressors, however, this one just keeps going (and going). With reports about new variants in our newsfeeds, texts from friends who have just tested positive lighting up our phones and public health organizations doing their best to effectively communicate new precautions, we find ourselves in a conundrum. How do we navigate business as usual—which many of us crave a return to—in the midst of all of the ongoing stressors and systemic workplace changes brought about by Covid-19? 

With full remote work or hybrid schedules now a more widely accepted practice, managers must implement compassionate, people-centric and sensitive protocols that fill the gaps between the necessary in-person networking, face time with clients and team member bonding. At Actall, we keep flexibility at the center of our approaches to these challenges—and here’s how we’d advise managers and professionals everywhere as they work to roll with the punches of the pandemic. 

Hybrid Vs. In-Person Vs. Remote Work

It’s important to acknowledge that there are many people who never stopped working in-person during the pandemic—those whose jobs were classified as “essential.” This article is specifically discussing desk-centric professionals who, given a computer and an internet connection, could feasibly do their job from anywhere in the world. 

So, let’s be honest—nobody has this hybrid / in-person / remote situation fully figured out. There are benefits and drawbacks to all three approaches, whether that’s a slight loss of consistency but an increase in employee satisfaction due to hybrid or remote work, or highly effective teams that nonetheless burn out quickly due to mandatory in-person work. 

I’ll give you an example of how our practices have shifted at Actall, from our RTLS work in the field to our internal operations. Before the pandemic, we used to use Zoom and similar programs very sparingly for meetings. While our team had flexibility regarding in-office hours, we always felt that certain meetings would be much more effective with the whole team getting some face time and bouncing ideas off one another. 

Now, however, we rely on Zoom daily. We’ve traded the benefits of most meetings being conducted in-person to better protect the health and well-being of our colleagues. And since we nurture other opportunities for in-person connection, shifting many meetings to Zoom hasn’t had a major impact on our staff’s ability to connect with one another. 

That hybrid-ish approach works well for us. And let’s be honest—the world was trending toward remote and hybrid approaches even before the pandemic. Now, with a glut of young professionals who have spent the better part of their early careers in remote or hybrid settings, I’d bet that transformation toward hybrid continues at a rapid clip. 

And for some professionals, remote work is ideal. But when someone’s job is to interact with people, answer questions or sell a service or product, establishing in-person connection is essential. Managers face the challenge of squaring their own professional experiences (which were, theoretically, largely in-person) with the changing needs of the workforce. All I can say is, keep an open mind—and stay flexible. 

Conferences, Zoom Demos and High-Touch Sales Processes

On the subject of in-person conferences and trade shows popping up on my calendar for the first time in about two years: I’ve really enjoyed attending conferences this season—it feels almost like back-to-normal. But with continued Covid-19 surges, supply-chain issues, inflation and rising interest rates, many companies are weighing the costs of physically sending representatives versus joining remotely—or not at all. 

Either way, we’ve used conferences as opportunities to get a temperature check on the RTLS industry, make those increasingly important in-person connections and nurture our industry relationships in the health care and corrections sectors. This kind of in-person relationship building has been essential, especially as many of our connection points with clients and those within our network have shifted to Zoom. 

While that shift to Zoom has enabled our sales and customer success teams to jump on and conduct a demo with little more than a few hours’ notice, we also prioritize the high-touch, highly personalized sales process that keeps Actall clients satisfied and in the fold for years and years. That kind of relationship can’t be replicated online. 

Above All, Be Flexible

Flexibility and empathy in management leads to lower levels of churn, and it’s just plain good leadership. Figure out your organization’s non-negotiables in terms of in-person versus remote work, but always strive to work with people on their individual needs. It’s been a challenging stretch, so meet your colleagues where they are, and they’ll appreciate you all the more for it.