This last weekend, my wife and I took a trip down to the New Forest with our dog for a rest. During the weekend, we visited a few beaches and I was delighted to see that people were exercising, socialising (appropriately distanced, of course) and spending money in the local shops, restaurants and bars. This is much needed to help get the UK economy going, help get people back to work and minimise job loses which have sadly been too many in number.
As we start to emerge from lockdown in the UK, life is far from comparable with this time last year. Back in March this year, just as lockdown started, I wrote a blog called A New Hope where I highlighted the good emerging from what was (and remains) a bad situation. I wrote about the sense of community, collaboration and humour, and I am delighted to see these have (mostly) continued throughout the lockdown period. So why do I now build on this with A New Hope: Part II?
Let me explain.
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, my wife and I took a break in the New Forest for a couple of days, and this was my first time away from home since March. Granted, this was enforced due to the situation, but what have I and many others gained from the last few months?
Firstly, and most importantly, I have spent more time with my family. My 3 kids are growing up now (16, 18 and 20) but the time at home has been great and we have taken the time to walk, eat together, play games and talk more. I hope for my family and others around the globe that this trend continues. At Mentor Group we have a value of: Family first and Covid has really highlighted that this is so important.
Secondly, I have been highly fortunate to continue to work. My work landscape has changed completely. I spend my days collaborating with customers and colleagues on Zoom and Microsoft Teams and we have switched all our business to a virtual delivery model. No loss of productivity whatsoever and my car has sat idly on the drive not burning fuel so the environmental impact must be good. I hope to continue to do fewer miles in my car moving forward.
Thirdly, the overall mindset of most businesses has changed exponentially to be accepting and indeed embracing the remote working and learning model. Linking this to point one, families have been given time back especially without the need to commute. I hope this trend continues so that we can all move to a healthier balance of work and life.
It is fair to say that in the first few weeks of lockdown, there was some initial resistance to developing people using a virtual platform. However, I hosted several demo sessions for our clients showing the power of virtual learning workshops and without exception, every one of those clients saw the value and invested in their people during these difficult weeks and months. I hope that this has had a positive impact on mental fitness and overall wellbeing for people we have worked with.
The next iteration of virtual delivery is our new Sales Transformation as a Service (STaaS). This solution uses a blend of virtual and digital learning which can be either on-demand (if that is your preference) or on a regular cadence over a three-month period. No travelling required. No loss of productivity. Putting the learner at the centre of their own learning. Sound good?
In addition, this moves the financial model from a Capex to Opex model so that businesses can use their cash reserves for other things. Keep an eye on our website and LinkedIn feed for more updates over the coming weeks. I think this is a game changer. I hope you like it.
We are not through this crisis, not yet. We still must be diligent, sensible, considerate and even cautious to beat Covid and make sure we do not have a second wave in the UK and that we can save as many lives as possible. I hope that the lessons we have learnt over the last few months make us stronger, more family focused, more technology progressive and most importantly, more focused on our fellow human beings than ever. You may have heard that hope is not a strategy. That may be true, but without hope we would by definition be hope-less. That is not a world I want to be a part of, so I choose hope.