A Lot Can Happen in a Year
March 16, 2020 was a Monday. I was in Tucson for an all-day meeting with a client’s emergency operations team. They were putting plans in place “just in case.” It is always best to be prepared, right? You plan and hope you’ll never need it.
I was there to discuss communications strategies. Others in the room included public safety, health services, human resources, etc.
We talked through a variety of scenarios and responses, what-ifs and maybes, possibilities and improbabilities of what the impact of the virus could mean. I left the meeting with the confidence that we had a good plan in place and with absolute certainty that the HMA team was not going to go into the office for the next couple of weeks.
Before I headed back to Phoenix, Scott and I talked about it and a text message was sent to the staff – don’t come into the office tomorrow and we’ll jump on the conference line to talk more about it.
And other than a few days in June and Scott stopping by every couple days to get the mail, we never did return to the office.
A lot has happened these past 365+ days since we first heard the news about a deadly virus, toilet-paper hoarding, schools closed, restaurants and bars closed, and for our own safety, we needed to stay home and wash our hands.
Thank goodness for technology.
Up until that time, most of us had used some sort of video platform software, probably to watch a webinar or Facetime with friends. Now platforms like Zoom, TEAMS, GoToMeeting and the like are part of the daily routine, sometimes multiple times per day. Television stations broadcast the news from the anchors’ living rooms and we all get a glimpse into what our friends’ and colleagues’ homes look like.
For those of us with an office, you likely had a landline for your business. Without a physical space do you still need a phone number? We said yes and we now all have an app on our cellphones so that the landline calls are forwarded.
The new business casual.
Like many offices, other than dressing for a client meeting or a networking event, business casual was the norm at the HMA office. Today’s work-from-home business casual means slippers replaced heels, yoga pants replaced skirts, and t-shirts replaced collared shirts.
We became expert multi-taskers.
Toss in a load of laundry in-between meetings. Take the dog out for a walk while on a conference call. Place your grocery delivery with directions to leave it on your front porch. Decide to tackle the home-improvement projects that have been on your do-to list. Just your average workday.
We figured out new ways to stay connected.
Nothing will ever replace a face-to-face conversation, but we have learned how to stay connected in a safe, socially distant way with activities like staff lunches, happy hours and birthday celebrations. Surprise visits, special deliveries and just last week, we got together for a patio lunch for the first time since October.
A lot can happen in a year.
Yes, that is true, a lot can and did happen this past year. We’re grateful to all our clients who allowed us to support them this past year, navigating the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on their organization, to the new clients that saw the value in marketing communications and trusted us to become a part of your team, and to our staff and their families who probably know way more about what we do for a living than ever before.
Here’s to a better 365 days ahead.