There's no guide, standard operating procedures or even experiences that showroom owners can turn to for direction. We know of some owners that have had to take a pay cut, furlough great team members and be the bearer of bad news. Plus, working from home is not easy, especially if your role also includes homeschooling and keeping your kids from bouncing off the walls.
There is little doubt that our experience under stay-at-home orders for more than two months will change the nature of work in the future. Expect most every kitchen and bath business to evaluate its showroom space needs, but do not expect that most showrooms will adopt a work from home model for 100% of their employees. The truth is that working at the office works.
Listening is an art form, and there is a sound argument that listening is as important if not more important than presentation abilities. In a recent interview, co-founder and CEO of the private equity firm Blackstone Group Steve Schwartzman was asked what it takes to be an outstanding leader. He responded, “to be a leader you have to be a really good listener. You need to understand what goes on around you.”
In this crazy new environment that we find ourselves in, Zoom, Facetime and other video conferencing tools are go-to tools to communicate and connect. Spending the lion's share of your day staring at a computer screen at colleagues’ faces three feet away can be exhausting. Video meetings force you to focus more intently on conversations to absorb information. During a face-to-face meeting, you can pause or easily ask questions. On a video call, asking a question requires either using the chat feature or unmuting your microphone to interrupt the presenter or speaker.
Regardless of your location in North American, now is the time that you should start planning to reopen your showroom when sheltering in place requirements are lifted. Most certainly, the showroom that you return to will not operate the same way as the showroom you left. There is no precedence for reopening, but you may be able to learn from the experiences of retailers that have remained open during the pandemic, e.g., grocery stores.
Chances are if you see someone on the street talking to themselves, you are likely to believe that the person is not playing with a full deck. Talking to oneself in public may not be a good idea; however, if you want to improve your learning skills, doing so in private may not be a bad idea.
Hope typically is not what you want to depend on to determine your destiny. You can't rely on hope to turn your business around, collect receivables or ensure the success of a new product launch. However, hope is the right strategy to make it through the current coronavirus crisis, writes the 2018 BKBG Conference Workshops Leader, the Retail Doctor Bob Phibbs in a recent blog post.
It's challenging to capture the attention of your team in a face-to-face meeting. It's even more challenging when team members are forced to call in. Creating voluntary engagement is key to effective virtual meetings, writes, Justin Hale, in a recent HBR blog. Hale offers these strategies that lead to better virtual meeting results.
Comedian Jimmy Fallon recently joked, after being confined at home, that he really likes his wife. With many states shuttering all nonessential business as a means to stop the spread of COVID-19, and numerous BKBG Shareholders closing their showrooms, there’s a strong possibility that you are spending more time at home than you ever have. How do you remain sane when your kids may be bouncing off the wall, and most of your usual activities have ground to a halt. Without being able to go to the gym, watch March Madness, grab a beer at your favorite watering hole or go to the movies, we find ourselves in limbo.
In these uncertain and challenging times, it may not be prudent, advisable or even legal to work from your showroom. If your showroom or office has to transition to team members working from home, what are the most successful practices? Author and frequent blogger Austin Kleon offered the following guidance from his book, Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad.