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Last Thursday, I sat with the mallowstreet team and told them to gather what they needed from the office as the majority of us were going to start working remotely.
My thought process was simple. My responsibility is to my employees, and the team – their development, mentorship, growth, physical and mental health. That’s all I care about. I said we’d reassess in a week, and time would tell if I was overcautious, and — if I was – at least we’d had a full week of business continuity testing.
It’s been brilliant so far. A few people come into the office for meetings, but the majority of the team are productively working from home, continuing on their contributions to our mission: a better retirement for everyone.
The world has changed and there is a new normal
I guess I’ve got the benefit of having to face the reality of Coronavirus at the end of January (when there were just a few hundred cases worldwide) when I postponed the mallowstreet Silk Road Summit in Shanghai. Six weeks later, there are now 125,000 reported cases globally. Things are evolving at incredible speed. Who knows what the next guidance from the government will reveal? My view is plan for the worst, and hope for the best.
We find ourselves in a ‘new normal’. Uncertainty has almost never been higher. No one can accurately say, ‘what’s going to happen next’.
What I do know, is you can only control the controllables. Businesses still need to interact with their clients, maintain a presence in the market, and build new relationships. Pension fund trustees still need access to cutting edge content and help from experts in these volatile times. Up until a week ago, we used to a lot of this in person. But the world has changed.
We are seeing much of this move online. We are now starting to host digital events, and the activity on mallowstreet has been increasing significantly. I’ve worked at mallowstreet for 10 years, and have never seen the team innovate so quickly, and pull together in the manner they have. There is kindness, patience, clear communication, and understanding.
My lingering concern is the mental health of each team member. Not having the social interaction of the office and your colleagues to bounce ideas around is tough. How do we foster and support creativity remotely? We’re finding a way – lots of video, talking, and patience.
It is true digital will never replace face-to-face interactions. However, it does feel like the structure of how business is conducted will be different going forward.