How a Virus Will Infect Us With Trust & Innovation… If We Let It

remote workforce for agencies

If you’re struggling to find some sense of silver lining to the current state of affairs amid a Coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone. But perhaps the following thoughts on the potential positive impact on our personal lives, a remote workforce for our businesses, and the environment will offer some peace of mind — and a more productive, inspired direction of mental focus for you as a leader.

Fear As a Catalyst for Change

It’s understandable that you may feel anxious over the many uncertainties that have and are yet to come with the reality of our new world. In your role, you also understand how quickly fear and panic can become detrimental to your team and your business. Of course, the daily fear mongering of the media doesn’t help the situation, it only hinders our progress by keeping us in a repetitive cycle or emotional loop.

However, if we can take a step back from the chaos for a moment to take a look at the bigger picture, we bring awareness to the situation as an observer. If we can do that, we have the opportunity to realize that times of great turmoil can be the turning point in many areas that needed to evolve. Inflection points lay bare our most vulnerable areas and beckon us to decide to improve upon these areas that have likely been sitting latent on our mental backburners.

Remember, we’re truly all in this together, and we need to support and lift one another. Take that fear and focus it intently on giving, listening and supporting, discovering new opportunities, and the like. Effective leaders embrace vulnerability and use it to help build teams that are stronger than ever before.

From the Ashes, Support and Innovation Arise

The latest pandemic is not the first time that innovation was born from tragedy, and it won’t be the last. As terrible as it may seem, the plague of the Black Death in the 1300’s fueled an entirely new thought process on medicine and technology — and completely reformed the trajectory on which Europe was headed.

Today, many companies are responding to the turbulence by adapting their strategies on the fly out of necessity to forego old ways of operating. The trend toward a predominantly work from home (WFH) remote workforce has been gaining popularity over the last decade, as companies realize the efficiency of not requiring a daily commute, coupled with employees’ preference for more flexibility in their schedules. In an article by Bob Sullivan, Brie Weiler Reynolds was quoted as saying, “Because the virus’s threat is ongoing and it’s hard to predict how long things may stay this way, we may see companies using remote work daily for the coming weeks or months, and realizing that it’s actually a productive, effective way to work over a long term basis”.

For creative and technology agencies, the idea of an entirely remote workforce has been met with resistance by many as some held to the old paradigm of fear, distrust, and trading time for money. Our choice to continue on that same course has been removed for us.

“Because of the coronavirus, we’re seeing a real focus on remote work that may very well be a tipping point in terms of wider-spread adoption of full-time remote work.”

– Brie Weiler Reynolds, Career Development Manager and Coach at FlexJobs

The main goal is that we support our teams through this time. If we can get our people to open up with each other about the emotions they’re experiencing, that vulnerability will only foster more trust. And, that will help push our employees toward true innovation on behalf of our clients. In short, this may just make us all a little stronger: more resilient, more resourceful, more vulnerable, and more innovative.

But lastly, let’s not forget that for those who have never worked from home before, it can be incredibly isolating. So, in order to stave off that feeling of isolation, we can foster a deep connection through instant or direct messaging, calls, and even consider some fun via virtual team-building events with the widely adopted use of video technology.

Proof that Changing Our Ways Benefits the Environment

An added benefit of a largely remote workforce is a positive environmental impact. This is being proven in China as carbon emissions and pollution from their industrial practices have fallen dramatically in a very short time. As trend forecaster, Li Edelkoort, comments: “The recent pictures of the air above China showed how two months without production cleared the skies and allowed people to breathe again. This means that the virus will show how slowing and shutting down can produce a better environment which will surely be visible on a large scale.”

This is truly an opportunity for humanity to advance our workforce into the 21st-century and give way to a completely new system, where 124 billion fewer miles are driven by personal vehicles per year. The effects reach far beyond the reduction of 54 million tons of greenhouse gases, as well. More than $8 billion per year could be saved on auto accident insurance claims, reducing rates for many drivers.

Take a moment and realize the myriad, positive cascading effects of a change in thinking and behavior once this pandemic is over — instead of unconsciously returning to our prior habits, recurrent programming and patterning.

My purpose is to guide you and your agency through transformation and growth in order to weather any storm. If it would be helpful to talk about what’s happening within you or your agency right now, I can hold space, listen intently, and offer you guidance. When in doubt, let’s talk it out. Send me a message here or schedule a call.

Author: Kelly Campbell
Kelly Campbell is an Agency Transformation Coach based in New York. The former owner of a cause marketing agency for 14 years, she helps creative leaders transform their businesses and their lives—focusing on the 5 P's: purpose, people, positioning, pipeline and profitability. She speaks at agency growth conferences across the country, has been featured in The New York Times, Woman Entrepreneur and Forbes, gets vulnerable on Medium, and is currently authoring her first book on the awakening process that creative leaders experience in their pursuit of purpose. She is the host of THRIVE: Your Agency Resource, a bi-weekly video podcast sponsored by Workamajig that helps agency owners navigate personal and professional growth.

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