What I Hope Sticks

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  • by Jordann Ndoye

As the wild year of 2020 comes to a close, there are hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic will soon come to an end, as well, so we can get back to “normal” (whatever that really means).  While there is plenty that I am ready to say goodbye to, there are a few changes the pandemic brought on that I hope stick around.

  1. Compassion and grace. Working from home is hard, but with more and more people experiencing the WFH life together, the amount of compassion, grace, and understanding between co-workers, consumers, and clients seems to be higher than ever.

    Dog barking at the mailman or Amazon delivery drivers while on a call or zoom meeting? No worries, happens to me, too. A screaming child in the background? I get it, remote schoolwork stinks. Taking a call from the closet? I understand how hard it is to find peace and quiet in your house.

    In the end, we’re all human and each dealing with different curveballs and offering others grace is something we can continue to benefit from long after the pandemic and 2020 fade away.

  2. Truly listening to understand. Because there is so much unknown amidst these “unprecedented times” (anyone else over hearing the word “unprecedented” yet?), brands really have to intentionally engage and listen to consumers.

    All of a sudden, our eyes and ears are open even wider now. How will behaviors change? What behaviors will stick around? What behaviors will be forgotten? What new areas of opportunity will arise? 

    I’ve seen more engagement from client teams and more desire to really listen to people -- their consumers, customers, patients -- than ever before. Keeping this engaged listening beyond the pandemic will only better the brands and services the marketplace offers. 

  3. Creativity and permission to fail fast. The pandemic caused everything to change overnight. With no other options, people and businesses had to adapt and figure it out. From methodologies to how we collaborate as a team, new ways have come out of these times. Some things have worked well, and some others...not so much. But because of the grace and compassion I mentioned earlier, it feels as if even the failed attempts are applauded and seen as lessons learned. This fail fast mentality has the power to live on and continue to innovate in the way we work and connect with consumers. 

Curious to hear more, I asked others at SEEK what they want to see continue: 

“I hope we continue with the vulnerability; being honest when people ask us, "how are you, really?"  Being willing to say "I'm depressed, I'm anxious, I'm exhausted."  I hope we can keep the Productivity Superman/Superwoman image at bay for as long as possible.” -Justin Masterson, SVP - Strategy

“Our newfound focus on self-care. Who knew that was a thing?! But it is...At least I'm thinking about it more whereas before, I never even knew it needed to be considered. Now I feel I have permission to give it consideration. I don't think the need for this will go away after the pandemic. It's always been there, we just weren't always giving it the attention it deserved.” -Celia Cappozzo, Research & Innovation Consultant

“I think there's even more schedule flexibility than normal. So people understand if you have a break in the day, you may run to the grocery store or do an errand. Or take a real lunch break to go on a walk. It feels like we're more understanding of the need to do life things during the work day and not just be tied to our computer 9-5.” -Hope Norman, Director of Client Engagement

Dressing comfortably at work. I know that’s something we can do to a degree at SEEK but not everywhere. It has become more acceptable since we’re all wfh and I hope this continues. Dressing casually brings people down to a more similar level. And it’s time for corporate America to admit that professionalism (including how we dress) is an equity barrier where some people automatically are positioned as more acceptable than others based on what they can afford to wear and based on how well they can perform/be their authentic, functioning-self in that kind of clothing.” -Kellie Coppola, Research & Innovation Consultant

“One thing I REALLY have loved is seeing people (coworkers, clients, respondents) in their “real” home element, as their real selves… no make-up, workout clothes, etc.  I love when pets show up in meetings, as well as when all of a sudden you see a kid’s face or kids running/playing in the background.” -Miguel Martinez-Baco, VP - Qualitative & Hispanic Expert

“Nationwide qual research [with less travel]. We can do interviews from Georgia to Washington state on the same day. For projects which require qual research with a wide geographic scope, I could see hybrid models where we do some markets in person and some virtually.” -Joe Hartung, Senior Research & Innovation Consultant

So what about you? What types of changes or behaviors do you hope to see stick around long after the pandemic ends?  Let’s keep the conversation going. JOIN US ON LINKEDIN or email me directly: jordann@seekcompany.com.