New Normalcy Abounds.

How Do You Know If and When It’s Right?

Every one of us is trying to determine our new normal. Do we go out? Do we wear masks? Are we exercising responsible social distancing?

As a leader, one of the biggest questions you may be asking yourself is, “Should we go back to the office?” If so, how?

As we develop potentially anxiety-inducing plans to head back to the office, let’s create the most optimal and intentional mindset first.

Before you brainstorm, plan, and execute, ask yourself:

Why are you returning to the office? Is it because your own feelings of isolation have hit a cabin fever pitch? Are you afraid your employees are taking advantage of their time at home? Or can you legitimately cite an objective, calculable rationale that warrants taking appropriate measures to do so in a safe manner?

You can determine if your return plan is sturdy by vetting it against your fears. If you are bothered by issues that others don’t understand, chances are good that you are making decisions based on bad memories, grudges or blind principles rather than sound judgment. Face the flaws in your thinking and revisit your strategy.

Do you possess sales and/or productivity data that supports your desire to reconvene your workforce? Have you surveyed your staff to gauge their comfort levels? Or are you making decisions based on how you feel and how you believe or assume others feel? Have you already started working from the office with no detrimental consequences? If so, you may be falsely assessing the safety of asking others to follow suit.

A lease? Assets that you no longer need? Your need to control the situation? Having a sense of control is critical to our well-being; yet oftentimes, we go about gaining it in detrimental ways. Do what you need to do to clear your mind and find power in your vulnerability.

Oftentimes the human brain defaults to either/or. In this case, it may be ‘either we all continue to work from home or we make a plan to return to normal.’ Chances are good there’s a third option that needs permission to surface.

If you aren’t the only decisionmaker, you may be facing a stalemate or dissent. This is the moment the value of a hierarchical structure shines through. One person is ultimately accountable for the final decision. If you are operating from a more collaborative structure, then you may have to revert to a vote. Regardless, once the decision is made, EVERY leader must get on board with it.

Consider this: whatever mental, emotional or behavioral challenges you faced under normal circumstances are now being amplified. Disallow your mind’s distorted view from coloring your logic and focus your attention on the most mutually beneficial solution.

All non-essential workplaces and employees are having to turn ‘business as usual’ on its head. Leverage this understanding by creating alternative means to a productive and profitable end. We all want to resume what we once knew – unless, of course, there was a nightmarish commute involved.

Together, we can discover and commit to a new normal that allows us to thrive in spite of dire threats. Caving to desires increases our risk. Creative, collaborative problem-solving mitigates this risk. Remember, you don’t have to have all the answers. You need only pure intent and an open mind that allows others to contribute to an innovative game plan.

Maybe instead of returning, it’s rejuvenation that we seek.