A Sense of Normal

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2020 has been a year like no other. As we wrap up the year, I am often asked about my top lesson learned or MainSpring’s take-away for the year. You may think that my response will include the word "pivot." Yes, we have all had to pivot in the past nine months. But my advice to business leaders and development managers is to create a sense of normal in 2021.

A snow day lesson

As I am writing this blog, I look out my WFH (work from home) office and see snow.  The DMV region—DC, Maryland, and Virginia—was hit by a late Fall snowstorm that blanketed the area with anywhere from two to ten inches of snow.

Since most in the region are either working from home or homeschooling, does a mid-week snowstorm even matter? Do pre-2020 snow days even exist?  Remember those days when school and business hit the pause button, and everyone enjoyed an unexpected day off?

If you scrolled through social media on the snowday, you might have read a letter that went viral across all media platforms. A West Virginia school superintendent sent out a snow day announcement to all parents. 

“For just a moment, we can all let go of the worry of making up for the many things we missed by making sure that this one thing our kids won’t lose this year”…a normal snow day.

We may have missed out on a lot this year, but there is one thing that both our employees and our customers want, and that is a sense of normal. 

Four ways to create “normal” in 2021

Why did a letter from a WV school superintendent go viral? Because it advocated for a slice of pre-COVID normal. Here is a list of ways to bring back a piece of normality to your business in 2021.

  1. Customer Service. Here is the word "pivot." As the business environment changes, you must invent ways to maintain the high standard of customer service behind your brand.  You do not have control over the impact of COVID or even the impact of other companies' business decisions, but you can control your customer service. Even if you have to pivot your business plan, a strong reputation for customer service should remain at the top of your 2021 goals.
  2. Continue Tradition. It is important to continue traditions for your employees, your customers, and the community. To use MainSpring as an example, we continued many of our annual community traditions. Although many events were virtual in 2020, we continued to support giving back to our community. The yearly sponsorship of DC Central Kitchen's Food Fight and Toys for Tots are initiatives that our employees enjoy; so, we continued them this year. We turned our holiday party into a virtual one better connecting our employees who can’t normally attend because of geography—a clear win. You may need to change the format of your company traditions, but both your employees and your customers will enjoy participating.
  3. WFH Communication. Many of us will still be working from home in 2021. If you read my bi-monthly blogs, you know that many WFH employees want more consistent communication from team leaders and even co-workers. Those of us working from home want to feel part of a team. Team leaders' 2021 goal is to create a work atmosphere that brings back a sense of team unity.
  4. Empathy. Create a Customer Connection that includes empathy. I recently read a blog that summed up how to connect with customers in 2021. 

“Forging that connection means demonstrating empathy, and demonstrating empathy comes down to addressing your customer’s needs and fears. To do that, you may have to tailor your products or services, reexamine your customer service policies, or use a more compassionate voice in your marketing materials.”—Fundbox.com

The business taskforce

I just listed four ways to offer a slice of normal to your customers and your employees in 2021.  Four steps sound easy. But, if you dig into those four suggestions, you will quickly realize that each is complex. Each includes change. 

Sometimes to seem normal, you have to change. And sometimes a change should involve a business task force. 2021 is that time.

It is time to convene or to establish a business task force at your company. Pull together representatives from each team or division of your company. Discuss customer service, your brand, traditions, and how to bring empathy to your business voice. For the sake of your employees, discuss how to improve WFH communications. 

A year of blogs

One way that our MainSpring team has communicated through the challenging year of 2020 is through blogging. If you browse our blogs on our website, you will find a library of timely information. I believe that our top five blogs from the year reflect not only the year but also how our team pivoted to meet new demands. Here is the list of our top five blogs of the year: 

  1. Learn how to onboard a new work-from-home employee:  https://gomainspring.com/business-strategy/onboarding-a-new-work-from-home-employee/
  2. Have you moved your business to the Cloud? Here are the five reasons to move your business to the Cloud in 2021:  https://gomainspring.com/business-strategy/five-reasons-to-move-your-business-to-the-cloud/
  3. Protecting your brand image should be an ongoing effort. Ensure that you are prepared for 2021 and read the blog:  https://gomainspring.com/business-strategy/technology-protects-your-brand-image/
  4. The cost of cybersecurity… Read about the importance of cybersecurity. You can read the blog here:  https://gomainspring.com/cybersecurity-awareness/the-cost-of-cybersecurity/ Is your data secure for 2021?  Ask Team MainSpring how we can help.
  5. 11 ways to secure corporate data:  Another popular blog post from Team MainSpring. Get our top 2021 tips for securing corporate data. Read the blog here:  https://gomainspring.com/cybersecurity-awareness/11-ways-to-secure-corporate-data-mainsprings-checklist/

Prepare for 2021

MainSpring is a technology services provider in the DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia region.  How can we help you prepare for 2021?