Lockdown 2: What should sales leaders and teams do differently?

In the UK, in response to surging Coronavirus numbers, the government has implemented a second national lockdown, alongside other European countries struggling with the deadly pandemic.

Lockdown 2 sounds like a disappointing prequel to a movie that never should have been made. Coming to a sofa near you! Unfortunately it’s the reality of coping with Covid-19.

Lockdown 2 came into effect on 5 November, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ‘insisted’ it would end on 2 December 2020. The government has been determined to ensure Christmas is as normal as possible, in some way.

Unlike the first lockdown, schools are staying open. People can still go to work, if they can’t work from home, but restaurants, pubs, bars and anything deemed ‘non-essential’ are again closing. It also has an end in sight, whereas with the first, no one knew how or when it would end.

What’s different about these lockdowns?

We are more prepared for this now. Other European countries, such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, and Greece also are implementing some form of lockdown, or introducing new restrictions, as Covid-19 numbers increase.

Measures in other European countries are different, depending on the rates of infection, and how seriously governments are taking getting it under control.

As much as we want it, Covid-19 isn’t going away, not anytime soon, and not before 2021.

Which means sales leaders, and salespeople need to be asking themselves: What can we do differently this lockdown?

Unlike the first lockdowns, experience shows us what to expect. In many countries now going through this again, not enough people anticipated it, especially with much greater efforts being made to stay safe. Numbers had stayed steady, or even reduced for a while, once previous lockdown measures were eased.

It’s also worth asking, is this going to be the last lockdown?

Until there is a clear, safe, tested, and widely-adopted vaccine, this is likely to happen again. Around the world, countries could be going in and out of lockdown, or some form of lockdown measures to keep the virus under control. We are going to be coping (and struggling) with this for some time.

How can sales teams cope with rolling lockdowns?

Let’s work on the assumption that lockdowns are going to be a feature of modern life, alongside masks, sanitiser, and social distancing. It won’t last forever. Vaccines, smarter technology (such as the sort of track and trace apps that are working well in South East Asia and China), or stricter measures, which got things quickly under control in New Zealand, should get life back to normal.

But for now, for the rest of 2020 and into 2021, lockdowns could come and go like a passing storm, as Covid infection rates rise and fall. Society, governments and businesses are being forced to adapt. Each lockdown is likely to be different from the previous, as this one is.

Factoring the above in makes sales leaders and teams more prepared for future lockdowns. Here are a few ways to stay sane, productive, and keep hitting targets as we roll in and out of lockdowns, until this global pandemic is over.

#1: Create a healthy routine

During lockdowns, it’s advisable to work from home (WFH).

Working from home reduces the risk of catching the virus, and equally it protects others in the event of you, or someone you know, having it. However, we know that working from home isn’t for everyone, or possible in every case. Spare rooms, or rooms that can be repurposed as offices are ideal, but not everyone has those.

So in some cases, salespeople might need to be commuting (driving is best, but public transport is safe too, especially when fewer people are using trains and buses) to offices some of the time. As long as those offices have adapted safely to the pandemic, then the risks are reduced as much as possible.

Whichever way you are working, routines help keep you mentally healthy and refreshed for work. Aim to have fixed start and end times. If you are working from home, try to incorporate a ‘fake commute’, such as a walk, or do some exercise beforehand, such as going for a run. Starting the day the right way, and digitally disconnecting from work afterwards will keep you focused and refreshed when you are working. Making it easier to hit sales targets.

#2: Keep in touch with colleagues

Regular calls and check-ins keep everyone connected and working from the same page. Keeping in contact via messenger apps and email is equally useful. Managers should have a clear overview of how everyone is doing, giving them the ability to provide additional support as needed.

#3: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Lockdowns are new. We have to acknowledge that. They go against how we, as a species and society, function. Humans are social. We gather, meet, spend time together, travel. Usually in groups, either family, friends, relationships, or for work.

Countries where Coronavirus is surging are struggling economically. This is because people can’t be social, as they normally would be, causing whole swathes of the economy to be shut down. In most countries with stricter lockdowns, eating and drinking out, meeting friends and family, going to the gym and other social activities, isn’t possible. Naturally, this is causing people to struggle with their mental health.

So if you are struggling, if you need some time off work, ask for it. Managers and salespeople should speak up more when the job, especially under lockdown, causes so much stress that coping proves difficult. There are dozens of coaching and mental health-related service providers that businesses can bring on-board to support staff. Now is the ideal time to engage with one.

Make this lockdown easier for your team, and yourself. Lockdowns are difficult. Trying to work as normal, while operating under uniquely unusual and challenging circumstances isn’t easy.

Do the following differently, or improve on what you already started in the previous lockdown:
  • Create and stick to routines. Give yourself a real break after work, so you’re more refreshed the next day;
  • Keep in regular contact with colleagues;
  • Ask for help, or if work can’t provide it, seek some yourself.

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