BV > DV > AV; The Adventure!

Like so many people, I’ve spent these last few weeks of social isolation pondering…..

My pondering has gone through many phases; firstly, it was pondering about what supermarket may be best to find illusive products like toilet rolls and pasta, closely followed by a ponder about how much I should be stock piling.…

My pondering then entered the “when will this end” phase, which I quickly gave up when I realised I couldn’t control any of it, so there was no use worrying about when it’ll end; best to get comfortable with this new world until the new new-world is ready for us….which then got me pondering about what the new new-world might look like. 

I realised that there are three distinct phases to all of this. I call these phases;

  • BV - Before Virus
  • DV - During Virus
  • AV - After Virus

Let’s explore each phase…

BV - can you remember a world where we….

  • Commuted to offices for meetings with groups of colleagues; in my case, sometimes travelling hundreds of miles a day.
  • Greeted colleagues with a firm handshake, hugged family and friends, perhaps even sharing a kiss on the cheek (or 2 kisses if we were feeling continental!)
  • Went to the supermarket for “something we fancy” whenever we liked; without queuing up outside for 30 minutes first, and without having to maintain 2 metres distance from everyone else at all times.
  • Jumped on a plane for a weekend city break or a much-needed beach holiday. 

Hands up who didn’t appreciate every second of ‘BV’; I know I didn’t! I hopped on a plane like a bus, thought nothing of popping into the supermarket on the way home from work for a yummy dessert, and certainly didn’t appreciate being able to nip over to my mum’s or dad’s for a cup of tea! What I wouldn't do for a cup of tea and a hug with my parents now!

And onto the next phase…

DV - where we are now…

  • Worrying about running out of fresh bread, so buying 3 loaves “just in case”, then having to have double rounds of sandwiches to use it all up before it goes off (there’s no room in the freezer due to all the stock piling you’ve done!).
  • A weekly (at most!) trip to the supermarket with the expectation and understanding that you won’t get everything on your list. (I can’t remember the last time I saw flour on the shelves!)
  • Learning new phrases like "furlough", worrying about your job or your business, and reading EVERYTHING so you're as informed as possible about what it all means, and what help you might be entitled to if you need it. 
  • Teaching relatives (remotely of course!), how to use Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp and other communication tools; trying not to giggle too loudly when they can’t work out how to change the camera to face themselves rather than their feet!
  • Deciding when to go out for your one walk of the day, and spending the entire walk hopping into the road to make sure you stay 2 meters apart from others who have decided to take their daily walk at the same time.  
  • Either watching and reading every piece of media, or on the reverse, trying to avoid the media completely, because you’re fed-up / scared / disbelieving of the data and stories being shared (but at the same time, dipping in enough, in the hope there’s some news about lock down being unlocked!).
  • Getting used to your new daily routine; a new uniform to wear (in my case, a tracksuit!), trying not to eat all day, and insisting that “today’s the day” that you’ll try that YouTube fitness video...
  • And a big one in my case….working out how to use a home hair dye kit as you dye your roots yourself for the first time since you were 15 years old!

There are many more examples of how this DV world is affecting us day-to-day, and I’m sure you can think of your own. I know people who have been very happily married for 20+ years, yet it’s only now that they are spending so much time together, which is perhaps the biggest challenge of all!

And finally….

AV - the new business as usual….

  • ?
  • ?
  • ?

It’s all a mystery; when it will come, what will it look like, what we will be allowed to do, how our lives will be impacted, how our businesses and jobs will need to change. One thing is certain though; we will need to evolve, we will need to innovate, and we will need to transform everything about ourselves, including how we make money, how we interact with people, and how we live every facet of our lives. The DV to AV transition will not be overnight. 

The Big Divide

Let’s go back to DV; the phase we’re all living and breathing now. I’ve been observing this phase with fascination over the last few weeks. I keep hearing phrases like #InThisTogether, and #BeKind. However, in reality, we’re not really in it together at all, particularly in the workplace. DV is creating a workforce division, which is far bigger than the 2 meters!

Let me talk you through what I mean…

Businesses have created a 'critical versus non-critical’ divide. Some companies have had to permanently reduce their workforce, and as a result, some people have lost their jobs, or contracts have been terminated. Some companies have been able to furlough some staff members, which means they get sent home on varying degrees of pay, whilst the remaining employees ‘keep the ship afloat’. This ensures the business is ‘ready to go’ as soon as their customers start spending again. 

However, in reality, what this process has done is to create two ‘sets’ of people; those who are deemed ‘critical’ and have therefore retained their job or their contract, and those that are deemed ‘non-critical’, or ‘less critical’, and have therefore either lost their job/contract completely, or are now on a form of ‘gardening leave’ or furlough, whereby they’re not allowed to work.

Which one would you prefer to be? For furloughed staff, this means sitting at home with at least some pay and benefits for 3 months or more, whilst their colleagues do everything to keep the ship afloat. Being furloughed sounds pretty welcoming doesn’t it! Especially if the weather’s nice and you get a chance to sit out in the garden and work on your tan! And think about all those jobs you’ll get done around the house! However, does being furloughed mean you’re not important, or don’t work hard enough…?

Indeed, I’ve heard positives and negatives from people on both sides of the fence. One person who wasn’t furloughed expressed their disappointment to me because they have a young family and would relish the chance to be with them every day rather than being "stuck in the home office for 10 hours a day doing everyone else’s work!”. I also know of one company who told their non-furloughed team “not to moan” about being the ones “doing all the work”. They were told they should be “honoured” to have been selected to keep the ship afloat… Such divisive language!

Imagine how it’ll be when these teams come back together. Will it be an ‘us’ and ’them’ situation? And what if the teams never come back together at all? What if the downsizing is permanent? 

So, what do we do with this knowledge about divided workforces?

We innovate, we adapt, and we evolve….

Preparing for AV

DV is likely to go on for a long time yet, and when it does end, it won’t be a clean-cut transition as it was between BV and DV, as illustrated in the diagram below. It won’t end when bars, restaurants and shops start opening. The economy and how businesses operate, is going to be impacted for a long time to come. Economists say we could be impacted negatively for a decade. So how do we ride the DV wave? We learn to surf!

Furloughed or not, working or not, we all have more time on our hands at the moment. We can’t commute anywhere, and we don’t have the freedom to go for an afternoon mooch around the shops anymore, so no excuses, we have time. Let’s use it! We need to review where we are now, how we might be impacted, and what we need to do to adapt and change. We need to be agile, we need to review our current business goals, and we must align our career with critical functions. Have we built our entire life around one industry, one company, one skill set (whether we’re employed, self-employed or running a business)? How can we diversify, how can we expand, and how can be adapt?

We are at a fork in the road. Do we continue on the same path we were on, or do we take the other option and explore new avenues? 

Everyone’s journey will be different, but one thing will be consistent; it will be an adventure!

In recent years, I have been on my own career adventure. I’ve developed techniques, practices, skills and habits, that enable me to surf the waves of change; even the HUGE waves we’re seeing now! However, the adventure is never over. We need to continually evolve and innovate. As such, when we were still in BV, and before we’d even started talking about COVID-19 or furloughing, I started a new wave of business innovation. I decided that I wanted to support others on their own adventure. DV has accelerated this desire. I want people to exit DV and skip through AV with a new mindset, an accelerated career plan, and a critical focus. I want to show you the best fork in the road to take, and skip along that road beside you. Let’s make those big problems smaller, let’s take the barriers away, let’s succeed...

Are you ready to join the adventure? 

For more information about me and Akeno, take a look at the website and various social media channels; please feel free to connect, follow or just read.