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The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
"A leader is one who knows the way, walks the way and shows the way." – John C. Maxwell
Life got messy in 2020.
It's not just the virus. In this way, the virus has changed everything we once took for granted – from the way we work to the way we work.
Or don't get to work.
Although forecasts and schedules vary, one thing is clear: COVID-19 is here to stay.
The rest is largely unknown: especially when it comes to decisions by companies and individuals.
Researchers predict that COVID-19 will continue to cause chaos and distress in the years to come. Intermittent bans and panic buying just become a part of everyday life. And when a vaccine is finally approved, international business will likely get in the way.
More people will be affected and even more people will stay at home.
Many of us are just beginning to realize that there may never be a time when we return to "how things were before". And those who feel it the most are the loyal nine-for-five.
This time last year – before COVID-19 was even heard of – a large part of the workforce was spending their day at work. We showed up at work, did our job, and went back home. This is where we dealt with most of our daily social interaction: we discussed projects with colleagues, took part in meetings, shared a dining room, and idly chatted around the water cooler.
Over 40 million people have lost their jobs since the COVID-19 success. The rest of us were forced to stay home and have conversations using our screens. According to research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), around two-thirds of Americans are currently working remotely due to COVID-19.
And boy do we feel it?
Related Topics: Four Ways Businesses Can Support The Mental Health Of COVID-19 Employees
From remote voting of your choice to remote violence with violence
It is true that even before the pandemic, remote working was on the rise. Over the past five years, the number of people working from their kitchen tables to beach cafes in Bali has increased by 44%. But here's the difference: it used to be a choice.
For many, the digital nomad lifestyle is the way forward. Christian and Rasmus Mikkelsen (the Mikkelsen twins) recently launched PublishingLife, a fully remote education company that helps other entrepreneurs start their own online business.
Although they initially considered setting up a corporate office, they realized that the benefits of staying away far outweigh the benefits of getting their people in one place. They are now determined to stay 100% away if their business grows in line with the general trend.
"For companies that have already operated partially or fully remotely, the impact of coronavirus has been minimized because employees can continue their business regardless of whether they are at home, abroad or in quarantine," says Rasmus. "Companies with large corporate offices have had to close their buildings and send workers home, which has been surprisingly effective and successful."
They firmly believe that despite the massive impact of the coronavirus on the business world, remote work could be a powerful model for the new age.
"Even after the end of the pandemic, many companies will keep many of their employees away," says Rasmus. “This is a huge benefit for the company as it saves employees valuable time commuting to and from work. In addition, the physical location is no longer an obstacle to setting. It's an even greater benefit for the worker as it creates infinite job opportunities and people love the freedom to work remotely. Work on your own schedule from anywhere in the world. How could it get better? "
Sure, the benefits of working remotely are numerous and many companies have survived the economic downturn by sending their employees home. Google Inc. recently announced that most of its 200,000 employees will continue to work from home through July 2021.
But nine months after this mess, the novelty has gradually waned. And it costs our sanity enormously.
The mental effects of remote working
Without daily preparation and training, even the most competent people can struggle to work and get involved as well as they did before. Those new to work from home have reported feeling isolated, separated, and anxious.
Working remotely means that you don't just knock on the boss's door when you have a question. Lack of personal supervision and the inability to make contact can result in the job not getting done. Reduced motivation can quickly lead to a lack of productivity, which only increases despair and worry.
We're also missing an important component of normal human interaction: physical body language. A hasty or particularly blunt email from a boss or colleague can quickly be interpreted as a sign that the sender is angry. When we work in the same environment, we may know they are just having one bad day. Reading the tone of voice in the text is a task in itself.
Above all, a new and penetrating feeling of loneliness. Individuals who live alone or have no means of interacting with others in their remote work environment may be particularly vulnerable to stress and depression.
Meanwhile, those with other responsibilities in their personal lives struggle with multiple distractions – restless kids, pets, partners, chores – all of which lead to a suboptimal work environment.
Related: Why Your Mental Health Is Key To Your Business
Why managers have to adjust to their workers
COVID-19 has already brought an enormous amount of stress into our lives. Which, given the daily pandemic of supermarket queues, health fears, strict hygiene, media reports and general fears, can make virtual work commitments seem a little overwhelming.
Here executives and managers have to put themselves in the shoes of their employees and recognize what they may have in front of them.
As managers and business owners become more aware, they can make a huge difference in the way their employees do their jobs. Even better, they can help their employees keep doing their best and have a positive impact on the organization.
Your Social Voice social media marketer Kim Barrett specializes in helping business owners thrive online. He believes that from 2021 onwards, companies will change in ways that have never been seen before.
“Business leaders need to put the interests of all stakeholders first, not just their own bottom line,” he says. “The business owners who only care about their own profits have run out of tide. As Warren Buffet famously said, "Anyone who swam without pants was exposed."
Now, says Kim, the time has come for a new kind of management: one in which leaders are encouraged to demonstrate the behaviors they expect and need from the people who work for them. "I would expect this exponential surge to happen in 2021 and beyond when the truly conscious leaders step forward and lead by example."
The advent of the conscious leader
Much of the way we work is based on unconsciousness – learned patterns that have been ingrained in us since we were born. We often don't even think about what we're doing or how we're doing it.
But if executives are to lead their companies through the pandemic, they need to be more preoccupied with their workers. This means recognizing the common humanity – the fact that every employee is an individual with needs.
Consciousness is basically consciousness. For leaders, the ability to understand a worker's personal circumstances can help create a conscious culture where people know what to expect. To be effective and successful, employees need to know that they are being understood.
Olúmidé Gbenro, founder of the Digital Nomad Summit, believes that conscious leadership is a long time coming. And now it's more important than ever. However, in order to successfully implement awareness, companies must take a holistic approach in all niches.
“When it comes to community building, we are very focused on mental health,” he explains. “As an online entrepreneur, people can often sit in front of the laptop too much. Traveling as a digital nomad may seem great, unless it is not always easy to make friends and connect with other people. "
“To be a conscious leader in this case is to emphasize the importance of socializing and supporting everyone in our community. It creates a safe space where we can all coexist and grow together at our own pace. "
This can be as simple as talking about mental wellbeing. Workers need to know that they have a safe place to talk about how they are doing at home and what to do when they are not.
Robert B. McGuinness, business coach and founder of Soul Venturer, says leaders must now honor what he calls the "soul standard." “I believe this will change the future of employment and the future of entrepreneurship. The days when you only do business for money will not work in the new economy. The real currency is effect! Effects that come from the depths of who you are. "
“In this new economy and society, we have the need for our deepest and most authentic desires at hand. Unless you're doing something that is closely aligned with who you are at your core, I think it will be a huge challenge to find something sustainable for you in the future. "
Related: 4 Ways Conscious Entrepreneurs Are Empowering Humanity Through Business
Strategies to Become More Aware
Actively listen to your employees. Pay attention to what is not said and not what. Observe the communication in all forms – spoken and written – and try to understand how the employee felt making that communication.
Listen to yourself. Does your inner voice criticize you or does it encourage you? Whatever you hear from within will affect the way you treat others. Focus on developing the self-esteem that promotes positive thinking.
How is this tension? COVID-related stress affects us all, and that stress can turn even the gentlest of leaders into monsters. Allow some time for real relaxation and stress relief. Make sure you encourage your employees to do the same.
To be present. Whether you are in a virtual meeting or writing an email, pay attention to where you are. Try to keep your mind from wandering to other places. When you think about what you did yesterday or what needs to be done tomorrow, you will only be depriving what needs to be done now.
Slower. This situation is not changing anytime soon. What's the use of being in a hurry? How will rushing make your employees feel? Fear can make you feel fiery and out of control, which will only panic people. First take a breath. Answer when you are calm.