Panic, uncertainty, shock, anxiety, nervousness, fear… just a couple of the words to describe what I felt when the president announced the lock down. What does this mean? What is going to happen to our company? I mean, we work in the hospitality industry. No tourism means no business.
The first month of the lock down pushed me out of my comfort zone, my office. Suddenly, I was alone at my wooden table at the house, laptop, screen, and files. No face-to-face contact with my colleagues. Nobody to bounce ideas from. Nobody to discuss these emotions with.
Zoom was still a platform only heard of, never been used. Suddenly this was the new way of communicating with my clients and colleagues. Is this really happening? How long will we have to stay at home? You used to hear people dreaming of working from home, but suddenly, it was not a dream anymore, it was a nightmare.
Our first couple of months consisted of havoc, cancellations, refunds, crying customers, vouchers, trying to save clients. Clients were cancelling services, some had to close their doors permanently. What is going to happen if none of our clients survived this pandemic? What then? We must work hard; we must push harder than ever before. We have always pride ourselves in working hard and being proactive, but this pandemic really put up a fight. We had to show our worth and make war with something you cannot even see, touch, or feel. A virus. A virus so strong that not only has the capability to kill humans but also thousands of companies. A virus that can leave millions without a job, an income, nothing to support themselves nor their families. This virus was not here to play, it was here to destroy.
Anger, annoyance, irritation, outrage. This was the next wave of emotions which took over my body. Our company shrunk. We had to say goodbye to so many intelligent, wonderful people who were part of the family. This made me angry. How can this virus do this to us? We have worked so hard the past couple of years to build this successful company. I love my job. I do not want to lose my job. What if we also have to close our doors? Permanently? What am I going to do? How dare this virus take my job which I love from me. COVID – you wanted war; I will give you war. I will make sure you do not take our company and I will not let you win.
Perseverance, endurance, determination – the next phase. The president said we can slowly start getting back to the office. Only 5 people at a time. You must wear your mask. You must follow the protocols. I did not care; I would do anything to get back to normal. But what is normal? Normal that we know will no longer be… not for long anyway.
Daily infections nationally started dropping. People were not scared anymore. I could feel the air changing. Humanity decided that this pandemic will not get the best of us. We must fight for our company. I am determined to make a success of our company and therefore started learning new skills. Slowly but surely, our company is starting to rebuild. New leads are coming in. We can breathe a little. We can sing and dance again. We can celebrate small victories again. Life is not normal anymore; life is a new normal. The most valuable lessons I have learned throughout all these difference waves of emotions, is that a crisis like this pandemic has proven that it is imperative for companies to be agile throughout. A company’s agility has always been a benchmark of especially successful operations, now more than ever it has become abundantly clear that a business’s ability to swiftly (and accurately) assess a situation and then pivot quickly and with relative ease in response can be a deal breaker in the most profound sense.