New Normal in the coronavirus era

Business man pointing the text: EngagementI’ve come to dislike the phrase “New Normal.” I think it is because so-called-experts have overused it. And when they do use it, they normally fail to associate any meaning to it. So, they sound smart without actually being smart.
Unfortunately, I cannot find any good replacements for the phase “New Normal.” If you have suggestions, I encourage you to please share them in the comment box below.
My sneaking suspicion is that all of us have different visions in our heads about what the “New Normal” during the coronavirus era is going to look like. And these various visions are all informed by different data points streaming into our daily digital lives.
For example, I read the following article from USA Today titled “When will a second wave of the coronavirus hit, and what will it look like?” I then had a conversation with a Boys & Girls Club professional friend of mine about how this potential future state might impact how they operate once their state’s stay-at-home order is lifted.
Here is an abbreviated synopsis of what that organization is thinking about:

  • Personal protective equipment for staff and the children they serve
  • Organized hand washing activities
  • Social distancing of 6-feet dictating reconfiguration of spaces
  • Social distancing impacts programs/activities (e.g. no contact sports or large group programming, cancellation of field trips, etc)
  • Social distancing results in fewer youth being allowed in the facility at one-time, which has staff contemplating assigned program shifts
  • Disinfecting/sanitation of spaces in between shifts
  • Fewer youth served has staff looking into taking some programming online
  • Online programming has staff worried about how many of their members are impacted by “digital divide” challenges (e.g. inability to access hardware, lack of home wifi, etc)
  • Reviewing / revising / developing new written plans, policies, and procedures on how to operate in the corona virus era (e.g. what do they do if a child or staff member gets sick? how long do they need to stay home? what proof will be required for them to return? do all families need to be informed? does it trigger a temporary shutdown and period of self-isolation?)

I need to stop here, but this list of considerations and questions went on-and-on for the better part of an hour.
And it became overwhelming very quickly.
As I’ve mulled over this conversation over the last few days, I’ve come to the following conclusions. Hopefully, some of this will help as you contemplate your organization’s “New Normal“:

  • Don’t make assumptions — talk to your clients, staff, board members, volunteers, donors, vendors, etc (e.g. how many of your clients actually have access to tech, etc)
  • Don’t wing it — put everything in writing because organizational structure allows you the ability to assure people (e.g. clients, donors, staff, etc) that you’ve thought things through and can be trusted
  • Be knowledgeable — understand the ins-and-outs of your local and state governmental orders and regulations; engage your insurance provider in what’s covered or excluded in your policies
  • Be a leader — tell people what you’ve learned, offer various options, and share your recommendations because group decision-making right now seems to be an exercise in paralysis by analysis

So, what data points are you seeing in your new virtual world? What ideas are floating through your head regarding your organizations potential “New Normal?” Please share in the comment box below. Because we can all learn from each other.  😉
Erik Anderson

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