In England we are one week into Lockdown 2. It’s damp, gloomy and Friday 13th. Yes, the streets are less deserted this time, with the strangely welcome sound of school kids on the move. But ‘here we go again’, which rarely prefaces a pleasurable experience, very much captures the collective ennui.

Described by some as the return to a 2D world, further curtailment of basic human contact is undoubtedly adding to an emotional burden that even the most optimistic rumours of a vaccine will struggle to lighten. Our enthusiastic adoption of digital tools for personal and professional catch ups is being replaced by weariness and avoidance (‘ABZ’, ‘Anything But Zoom’).

And, for most businesses, despite the lifeline offered by an extended furlough scheme, the bond that holds key relationships together will be tested more severely. Successful commercial alliances come in three dimensions and do not survive indefinitely in a screen-based environment.

There is, therefore, a dangerous vibe to the current regime, a sluggish rhythm that can further distance us and for which we need to compensate, actively and positively. Good weather and birdsong are not available. It’s down to us to change it up.

Here’s how, in my view:

  1. Keep in touch with your business contacts. Be interesting and supportive, not self-regarding
  2. If you receive such an email, text or vmail, REPLY. Your response can be succinct and it’s not big or clever right now to ignore fellow travellers
  3. Fix to meet safely, face-to-face, with key colleagues or associates when lockdown is over. We cannot continue exclusively to work remotely

See you on the other side.