There are things people were in the habit of doing before the pandemic that they’re not doing now. Like a computer shut down prompts us to rethink previously open applications, the pandemic disrupted the inertia behind our habits, heightened our sensibilities, and gave us the opportunity to rethink our choices. This is why you must align the way you’re leading with your followers’ post-pandemic work/life balance, health and wellness, relationship, and place in the world sensibilities and choices.
Work/life balance, health and well-being
Pandemic-driven office closures disrupted the lives of people used to commuting to and from work five days/week. At first it was jarring, uncomfortable and stressful. Then people figured out the technology and how to work productively at home.
When that happened, they discovered they didn’t have to worry about getting home in time for dinner with their kids. They could spend more time with their family, more time exercising, more time relaxing, and still get all their work done.
Many liked it. All formed new habits.
Now inertia is on the side of those habits. Many are not sure they want to go back to the “rat race,” give up time with their families, or sacrifice their newly renewed health and well-being.
The pandemic disrupted relationships in two ways: throwing people together or keeping them apart.
Some found themselves quarantined with people they were used to spending less time with on a regular basis. In some cases, their time together strengthened those relationships. In some cases, they made people discover things about each other they didn’t like so much. Some of them will go in different directions.
Others found themselves unable to spend time with some people. As restrictions relax, they will not necessarily restart those relationships and their old habits. Instead, they’ll spend time with the people they care about, and let the other relationships stay dormant. It’s not so much that there was anything wrong with the relationships before. It’s more that the pandemic changed all of us and created new shared experiences replacing old shared experiences.
Our place in the world
Some things in the world at large have become harder to ignore.
The UN declared “Code Red for humanity” on climate change. “It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.” This is making ever more people rethink their unsustainable habits and base more and more of their decisions on climate impact.
Social media fueled sharing of racial gender, LGBTQ, religious and other injustices have made more and more aware of them across the globe. This has led many to rethink their habitual choices and biases with regard to diversity and inclusion in those lights.
The disruption in the supply chain all the way from sourcing to retail has led to many rethinking their habitual brand choices. Now many are looking at product or brands’ provenance, ethics and how they impact the environment and treat those vulnerable to unjust treatment with new sensibilities. Customers are looking for brands to be, do, say with integrity, matching what they say with what they do with their underlying values and behaviors.
Implications for you as an individual
Do rethink your habits. You’re in charge of you. Now that you’ve broken your bad work/life balance, health and well-being habits, stopped spending time in relationships you’ve outgrown, and woken up to some of the world’s bigger issues, make new choices. Not suggesting you shouldn’t go back to commuting. Not suggesting you should abandon all your family and friends. Not suggesting you have to take up every cause. Just suggesting you do or do not do those things by choice, not inertia, and certainly not old inertia.
Implications for you as a leader
Those you lead are not going to return to a pre-pandemic normal. They are going to rethink their choices either consciously or sub-consciously. Fighting that is like fighting the tide. You’ll lose. Instead, invest in inspiring, enabling and empowering those you lead to do their absolute best together to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose that is in line with the work/life balance, health and wellness, relationship and place in the world choices they are making.