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What 'Next' Looks Like

With the nation essentially grinding to a halt, the lives of millions have changed.

Most non-essential organizations have either temporarily shut their doors or adapted to virtual, work from home environments.

Despite this, we must start thinking about what our world will look like after the pandemic. We must start to consider what comes next after America reopens businesses and the economy. Because at some point in the not-too-distant future, people will begin returning to work.
Although we don’t know exactly what that will look like yet, we know for sure that we are going to do it together. It is therefore paramount that we maintain empathy and continue to acknowledge what our people have gone through over the last month-plus. Many have experienced issues with displacement and connectivity; others have experienced something far more personal within their family or their own lives.
With hardship, there is always the opportunity for significant growth. We should accept the challenges that our workforce has and continues to face, for it will allow us to grow.

This is our chance to be both supportive of our people and rally behind them. Although we should work to get them excited for the future, one filled with purpose and meaning, we must do so with the utmost care. Because people have had time to reflect on what is really important to them and it is important that we respect that.

Most understand that work is central to one’s wellbeing, that it aids in giving life purpose. It is in our best interest now to support and cultivate that purpose.   
Although there has been a great deal of stress and anxiety, many of our employees have enjoyed spending more time with their families, friends, hobbies, and activities. Returning back to the brick and mortar facilities where our businesses reside may be challenging. It will be important that in this time of transition that we support not only the physical health of our employees but also their behavioral and emotional health.

This level of support is not just ‘the right thing to do’, it will build long-term employee loyalty and have a positive impact on your bottom line moving forward.
Our employees need us as much as we need them. Right now our responsibility is to listen as best we can and be honest and transparent with them. We need to encourage them to take care of themselves and we need to demonstrate all of our actions with confidence, purpose, and energy. 

Although we don’t know exactly what’s coming next, we do know that the time to prepare for it is now. This is our chance to define, on our own terms, what ‘next’ looks like. 

Patty Starr bio image

About the author

Patty Starr

Patty Starr is president and CEO of Health Action Council and is responsible for driving the strategic direction of the organization--build stronger, healthier communities where business can thrive. 

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