The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. – Stephen Covey
As we continue to experience the Covid 19 lockdown in various places in various ways – there are some things that seem to have changed for the better.
Remote working, especially – many places are finding that they can get quite a lot done by letting their people work from home.
That’s a good thing, isn’t it?
Well, maybe not, depending on the particular situation you’re in right now.
Particularly if you can do everything from home.
Because if you can, why can’t anyone?
Especially someone who is willing to work harder and longer for less – maybe someone in a different state or country?
Even before we had to do what we’re doing now there were comments from people who were willing to be paid less if they could have more flexible work.
That may become a reality for many faster than you think – as companies that see demand drop make savings cuts of their own – which often comes down to headcount and salaries.
If that happens, are you ready?
To answer that question there are four areas you should look at critically.
Start with your projects – the things you are working on.
Are they easy or hard, are they essential or not?
Are you working on something that someone really needs done or is it a discretionary thing, something that takes up time but perhaps could be put to one side for a while.
Which projects do you think will be shelved first?
Now, clearly the projects you do are the projects that you have the resources and capability to do.
Your capability travels with you, it’s what you have in your head and muscle memory.
But what about your resources?
If you need a multi-million pound studio to do your work, or very expensive software – how will you carry out your projects if you don’t have access to them through work?
A lot of people only have their work equipment – they haven’t invested in their own kit because they believe that it’s something that they should be provided with as part of their job.
That may be a little short-sighted.
If you want to carry on doing projects, it might be worth thinking what you can do with the resources you personally own or what it will cost you to get set up.
If you can reduce the resource costs of working with you, then you make it more attractive for someone to hire you as well.
Then there’s your network – the group of people who are peers and champions and supporters.
Have you taken the time to develop a network – can you reach out to them and ask for help when you need it?
And lastly, there’s your market – again make up of people.
Markets and networks are not abstract, conceptual things – you measure them in the numbers of people you can reach out to that will respond.
And again, it’s easy to be short-sighted – to think that the market you have will not change.
But if those people you know move on, will you be able to have a connection with the new ones, especially if their job is to cut costs?
These four areas are common to all of us, whether you’re just starting your career or you’ve been in it for a while – and it works at the level of an entire business as well.
It’s very easy to focus on one of the areas and neglect the others.
Think about how you spend time learning how to do something and then spend all your time on projects – but perhaps not ones where you learn anything new.
You don’t tend your network or keep developing your market.
Your mix of projects is static and things change around you.
The point is that change is always going to happen.
And it might not be change that’s good for you.
You are, after all, at the centre of all this – and you have to look out for you.
When change happens, you have to be prepared – and these four areas are the main ones – the ones that make the difference.
And it might be necessary to stand back, take a look at where you are right now, and then take action to move the dial to a happier place.
And then you’ll be ready.