• Fearless Collective

Glimmers of Hope

Faint glimmers of hope from whispered conversations in hallways. Can we be getting to the point where we can start on the road to a post COVID normal? It’s all sounding like the Sunset Boulevard tune “As if we never said goodbye”.

“The whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways The atmosphere as thrilling here as always Feel the early morning madness Feel the magic in the making Why everything's as if we never said goodbye”

These are the conversations we are starting to have with our clients as we dare to think about transitioning back to the workplace. Can we go back to where we were or is the post COVID workplace a very different environment to be in?

NSW and Victoria have borne the brunt of closures – and we don’t need to go into how devastating that has been for the small and medium businesses, who have struggled to eke out a living however they can. Pivoting to online services, contemplating new ways of working and trying with all the might which could be summoned, to fight on knowing a point would come to reopen or walk away.

Can we transition back to a hybrid working model? Can the tree, sea and dirt changers start to return to the workplace, a couple of days a week and do we have the right infrastructure for the commute into the city from all of those who have gone bush with their families? Many of us have transitioned from a corporate wardrobe to sweats and workout gear, while others have insisted on a jacket and blouse or shirt for the death by zoom, we seem to have become accustomed to, while the non-visible parts have been leggings or shorts. And let’s not talk COVID kilos and fitting back into our pre pandemic attire.

We are yet to understand the full efficacy of vaccines. We know they work. But how does that impact us being back in close quarters with colleagues, travelling to workplaces on public transport and most importantly, can we continue to day drink?

Cities rely heavily on having people in workplaces – cafes, restaurants, retail and service providers need the pre work coffee addict, the lunchtime ambler and the post work tipplers to be back in their offices, to reignite those sectors. The functions of the CBD include its arts and cultural life, its sense of excitement and its sociability.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp has said “The independent fashion retailers, laneway bars and tech start-ups play a crucial role in the fabric of our city. Our local businesses, and the people who lead them, are essential ingredients to bringing back the buzz. Our streets coming to life with city workers returning to their workplaces is a visible signpost about the strength of our recovery.”

The economic recovery of the nation will rely on the major cities functioning close to pre COVID levels. Pre-pandemic there were almost half a million jobs in the City of Melbourne and the local economy was worth $104 billion annually. While this has been decimated, the Australian economic function required all our cities and major regional hubs to get back to life.

Those of us who worked from home before the pandemic hit, who already had established offices in our homes, are itching to get back out on nights and weekends, contributing in our own way to the growth and excitement of regional centres and country towns. Weddings need to happen, milestones need to be celebrated and families, friends and communities need to reconnect. This is all part of transitioning back to a functioning working environment. Every business will do it differently; some will go back to the usual; others will remain as they are, with their pivot proving to be more profitable and workable for them. Sweet studio owners Darren Purchese and Cat Claringbold of Burch and Purchese won’t return to retail – they have discovered the profitability of their business can now be achieved with an order/online only option.

Every business owner and leader is starting to think about the transition to our post COVID normal. We can help you with messaging, marketing and revenue growth tools to ensure your transition is seamless, smart and has a strong financial outcome.

Now, back to work people.

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