With the news delivered on Thursday that lockdown restrictions in the UK will continue for “at least” another three weeks, the primary focus of many businesses is quite simply how to survive during the outbreak.

This, of course, is understandable, inevitable, and necessary. Now is, however, also a good time to start really focusing on having a strategy in place for what’s going to happen afterwards. The world will doubtless be a very different place, and it could be a very long time before we’re back to any kind of “normal”.

So, the question is, as business owners, what can we take from this global crisis, this national lockdown, this turmoil, stress and strain?

“Not a lot!” might be your initial response – I know we’re all having days where it feels like there’s really nothing of any worth or value to be had from these times, but on closer inspection, and with a little more CONSCIOUS awareness, there is much to be learned, much to be used, much to be taken forward.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

What did we do before all this? How did we work?

What are we doing differently? How are we running our business now?

What are the positives (there WILL be some, trust me!) that we can take with us from this?

I know everything happened so FAST that there was little time to think about anything other than immediate survival. But with the lockdown extended and 4 weeks already under our belts to get a feel for how the changes we’ve made are panning out, it’s a great time to take a step back and become aware, really aware, consciously aware, of what’s going on.

Were there things you were doing that you didn’t need to be doing? For example, was it necessary to have all your staff in the office all the time? Did you need to be paying so much in rent, in electricity? Did you need all those desktop computers? Could your business run more efficiently with some staff continuing to work from home with laptops? Have you gained more insight into your employees’ personal circumstances through communicating with them at home? Can you build on this more intimate relationship to generate a more respectful, trusting relationship both ways?

Could carrying on with Zoom or Teams meetings with clients minimise travel times and give you more time to focus on your core business activities? Is long-distance collaboration the way forward?

There are, of course, many, many downsides to this situation for the whole of humanity as well as the economy and businesses, but there are emerging hopes as well: people are saying this will change the world for the better, that we’ll be more environmentally aware, and much kinder to each other. I hope this happens, but only time will tell.

In the meantime, there is much benefit to be had from taking a good, long, meaningful and honest look at how your business can continue to develop and grow, taking with it the lessons and new practices learned throughout these unprecedented challenges, changes and disruptions to how we do things.

Taking a deep breath, a step back, and some time out to stop and be consciously aware of “good things” can make a huge difference to how you proceed from here on in, so please take this opportunity to observe, plan and prepare. And, of course, stay safe!