Lockdown. More than a moment to pause and think. A stop in our tracks and suspension of normal life.
Both personally, and as a business, there’s been time to reflect, time to set new goals, and time to reassess strategy and purpose. So, what has it taught us? Are there lessons that we can take forward to improve both ourselves and our businesses?
The answer is simple: definitely, yes.
So, we’re documenting it. Because in 12 months’ time, we want to look back and reflect on what lockdown has taught us, and realise that there actually were some positives to our normal working lives stopping for a while.
Here’s what we’ve learnt so far…
Time to Think Sparks Creativity
The day-to-day jobs. As important as it is during a normal working week to stay on top of emails, calls and conferences, this day-to-day work often turns into ‘all week work’. Leaving very little time for thinking, looking and listening.
This current period of relative downtime has allowed all of us to spend more time being creative. To think about things in a completely different way, understand new concepts, and also to find new and more efficient ways of working.
It’s driven product development and helped us create new ideas and products. It’s allowed us to explore a new market, and focus on really understanding how we can help solve a problem there. It’s given us time to be creative with marketing, and how we communicate with clients and customers. There are things we’ve tried and created over the last 10 weeks that, perhaps, would never have been imagined without this lockdown.
So, lesson one - allow yourself to take some time each week to stop and think.
A Quick Check in Goes a Long Way
With all of our team either on furlough, or working from home, keeping up the communication has become a vital part of Rugged life. Phone calls, video calls and Zoom quizzes are now the norm for many companies, and rightly so. It’s never going to be the same as a face-to-face meeting or team building trip, but it’s our virtual way of checking in and really asking ‘So, how are you?’.
The same goes for our partners and customers. Although we can’t be standing in front of them as we’d like to be, checking in, discussing future plans and ways in which we can work together to get through this has been one of the most important aspects of daily business.
Lockdown has proved to be challenging at times for all of us. The monotony of staying at home, working from home and exercising at home is something none of us are used to. But staying in touch, keeping the conversation going and having time to discuss something other than work has really helped boost team morale.
Lesson two? We might be physically distanced, but we never need to be distant.
We’re Capable of More Than we Think
In an office, it can be easy to just ask the person next to you ‘how’ and ‘why’. But working alone often leads to us trying to overcome these questions and challenges by ourselves. Whether it’s working out the most efficient way of filling in an Excel spreadsheet, or trying new apps and programs to create visual effects on videos and podcasts, we’re giving it a go.
Lockdown has let us learn. Whether that’s because we have more time to, or whether we feel like this is the time to, it’s been a great opportunity for personal development and for us to expand our own knowledge base.
Lesson three is easy... in future, let's try to work it out for ourselves first. You always learn better that way.
Problems Often Lead to Solutions
The first problem that many of us faced was offices being closed. An issue for some, but the solution for most of us was that we can quite effectively and efficiently work from home. The cut in commute from 10, 20, 30 minutes to something in seconds has been a blessing. For Rugged, it’s certainly shown us that working from home can be something we explore more in the future.
During lockdown, we’ve had the chance to interview some of our partners and customers from the indoor adventure market through our podcast series ‘CoronaPod’. One question we asked them was ‘what message would you give to the industry?’. Staying positive and supporting each other was a common thread throughout. So too was the theme of solutions. Necessity is the mother of invention was quoted by one interviewee, and that will forever stand true. The leisure industry has been one of those hit hardest by this pandemic, but as long as there are people out there who are willing to find solutions, there will be a way we can recover.
Lesson four - if a problem presents itself, don't panic. Start searching for a solution, there will be one if you look deep enough.
A Supportive Team Can Get You Through Anything
Team members are the supporting blocks of a business. And in a small business such as ours, ensuring each block is suitably supported helps keep the building standing. There is no doubt that this pandemic and weeks of lockdown have put strain on all of us, both personally and in our working lives. However, supporting and motivating each other has been the key to getting through the tough bits.
Whether it’s a phone call, a box of brownies or fancy-dress Friday, support comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It’s not a one size fits all solution, so understanding what makes each other tick is the first step in all this.
Our final lesson - we are all in this together, we're one team. But just remember that everyone will require something a little different to get through it.