In the last two weeks, we’ve seen mask mandates lifted, people getting out more, and businesses attempting to “get back to normal.” And, more people are getting vaccinated every day. Considering where we’ve been, these are better times indeed. But as entrepreneurs, we need to be cautious of our approach and considerate of those around us – including our clients and other business associates.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s look at a couple of approaches currently in play. The first is the “throw the switch on” approach – where we’ve shed the masks, stopped all social distancing, and suddenly put the pandemic behind us. An understandable approach for those of us starving for some sense of social normalcy. And, we’ve seen many businesses adopting this approach. But, we’ve also seen a hesitancy with some who are not quite ready for that sudden change. They are setting their own protocols, independent of state and local mandates. We are seeing businesses reflect THAT hesitancy by continuing to require masks and social distancing protocols. So, which approach is best?
Let me start by saying these two approaches (and all points in between) demonstrate that people will re-assimilate into public settings differently. Businesses need to be careful not to create environments that are uncomfortable for customers, employees, suppliers, etc. While it’s relatively easy for anyone to pop on a mask when entering a business that requires one, it can be very difficult for some to enter a totally mask-less pre-covid-like environment. I submit to you that most business’s clientele will consist of both groups . . . and this will likely be the case for some time.
So, do we maintain both environments indefinitely? Certainly not, but a smart business will do its best to cater to the client’s needs. That means adopting a softer transition away from the full pandemic protocols. Avoid ripping off the bandaid and creating an environment that might cause anxiety for some, ultimately pushing away their business. Show your clients that you’re moving ahead with the good news of a receding pandemic, but you are still respectful of their health concerns and needs. Eventually we’ll get through this, but let’s realize it’s a process, not a “switch” that changes things immediately. And remember, a lifted mandate is NOT a reliable read on where your target audience is when it comes to re-assimilation. Stay healthy and well.