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If this time has offered any opportunity to us, it is the radical breaking of convention that businesses, brands and individuals have had to respond and adapt to.

It can certainly feel frustrating to have business teams scattered and separated by isolation – communication becomes challenging, the pace of progress is slowed and the sense of togetherness we aim for in a team feels somewhat lost.

However, there is a significant opportunity that comes with the scattering of a team that business leaders would do well to utilise as we slowly begin returning to regular routine.

‘Miriam is quick in the centre but loses heart. Joyce understands the game but could move a little quicker; Audrey places herself well but lacks height.’ 

I recently came across this extract from the sports notes section of the annual magazine from a girl’s school in the 1930s.[1]

Undoubtedly, for many of us, comments like this would sound completely foreign in the context of schools and workplaces as modern sentiment has steered us towards prolific positivity and away from the unfiltered responses of previous decades. Especially in schools, to speak of any student’s performance and potential in any way other than glowing is unacceptable in a modern context. 

As we all settle in to a new online mode of connecting with colleagues and friends from our living rooms and home offices, it seems we are all getting to know each other to a greater extent than ever before. As regular work conversations are now conducted to the background noise of children and kitchen benchtops are serving as the backdrops to Zoom meetings, we are being driven to a level of authenticity that we would potentially never experience in the pre-COVID corporate world.

A few years ago I discovered that my history class had been wrong all along. I’d always been told that in the Japanese invasion of Singapore, the British were essentially caught off guard — that they were ill equipped and failed to recognise the threat until it was too late. In reality, the British were anything but unprepared militarily. The challenge was that they were unprepared mentally.

In a time that is characterised by confinement, disruption and chaos, maintaining a sense of momentum and productivity can prove beyond challenging. One of the biggest enemies of momentum is monotony and in a time like this, it seems as if the one dependable aspect of life is its monotony as it feels like we are all participating in a modern, viral version of Groundhog Day.

Here are 3 ways to break through monotony and boost your productivity at home:

With the dramatic changes that have occurred across the globe in recent months in the midst of our modern crisis, many of our standing systems have had to rework their regular ways of doing business. As many of these adaptations are working quite well for the people and institutions that have embraced them, it is likely that our new ‘business as usual’ will look drastically different from what it did before.

Last week I posted a blog examining how a crisis provides a unique opportunity to recalibrate and rediscover the unchanging DNA that makes up your business. While this is true, it is also worth examining the possibilities and perils of significantly changing your business in the face of crisis. While such pivots can open up opportunities for maintaining momentum and tapping into a pressing market need, business leaders must tread carefully. 

In the last few weeks, it has seemed that every day has brought yet another piece of bad news, pushing the world deeper and deeper into crisis mode. With more and more job losses, confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection and uncertainties arising, it is difficult to see the opportunities being offered by a crisis like this.

It is undeniable that Coronavirus has violently disrupted the way we do normal life. The one unique gift it is giving us, however, is space. In the most literal sense, it is giving us physical space from each other and for many of us, from our regular offices, commutes and meeting places. More than that, it is giving us space to recalibrate.

We find ourselves this week amidst one of the most unprecedented challenges the world has seen: a pandemic, declared by the World Health Organisation as a global public health emergency. Had we told ourselves just two months ago at the start of the year, when we were all optimistically organising our 2020 plans and resolutions, that a surprise like this was on its way, we would not have believed it.

In the lead-up to Mother’s Day a few years ago, I teamed up with the engineering team from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, to take part in an experiment live on national television. In this experiment, my engineering colleagues and I would print an intricate necklace from scratch over the course of the morning show with the hosts periodically cutting back to us in the studio to check on our progress. The angle for the story was something along the lines of ‘Don’t buy your mother a gift this Mother’s Day, print her one instead!’