The advent of COVID-19 means that life as we know it has changed dramatically. At Macutex, like many other organisations, we have been reflecting on these changes and started to shape what the next version of “business as usual” might look like for us. In this short interview with our CEO, Nathan Edwards, he shares his thoughts on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for businesses and individuals as events continue to unfold.
Question: What would you say has been top of mind for you over the past couple of months?
Nathan Edwards: Life has certainly changed dramatically for both individuals and businesses. Amongst the real fears for people’s health and wellbeing and concern for what the future holds for the economy, I believe there are nonetheless valuable lessons to learn, opportunities to uncover and silver-linings to appreciate that were not at first evident.
The decisions we make and the deeper connections we will forge over the next three to eighteen months will shape both our businesses and our personal lives in the coming decade. Right now, we have a window of opportunity, a moment, where we can act to make the future better.
Q: How can we leverage that opportunity?
NE: To me it seems that we are currently standing at a metaphorical intersection. It is an intersection where the need and opportunity to innovate in our businesses transects with the question of how we want to live our lives. Understanding what we want for ourselves and how we engage with our colleagues, our families and our communities is critical to our wellbeing as individuals and as a society. These aspects of our lives are no longer separate from what we do at work. Our personal lives and our work lives can never again be considered mutually exclusive. Nor are they separate elements poised, as though at each end of a seesaw, with us struggling to maintain a semblance of balance between them.
Q: What does that mean for work-life balance then?
NE: I believe it is beyond the balance between these two areas. What if we begin to think differently about how and where we spend our time? What if what matters is not the hours clocked up or the places we go to work, but the value we create, for ourselves and others? What if we focus on our own wellbeing, doing meaningful work and developing solutions to the problems that matter? This will allow us to have the best chance of succeeding as individuals, as businesses, and as communities.
Q: Do you feel that COVID-19 has forced us to pause and reflect?
NE: COVID-19 has imposed a new way of being for businesses and the people who work in those businesses. The previously unthinkable is now a reality, new habits are being formed and new paths are being forged. Once the enforced restrictions start to lift, and we begin to venture back into the outside world, we will each have a choice: to attempt to revert to the way things were, or to embrace the opportunity to enter a new era and create a “new normal”.
And in this new era, how can we each play a more active role in making things better? What role can we take on, what actions can we take?
I think that the answer is to recognise the need for change, understand that it will take many steps to make it happen and be willing to be the one who pushes the first domino to kickstart the journey your organisation or industry needs to take.
Q: How then does someone embrace being that “first domino”?
NE: Perhaps it looks something like this:
- As an individual, make choices aligned to a worthy purpose and in sync with what it means to be “in your happy place”
- As an organisation, empower and trust these individuals and turn their business-related recommendations into action
- This action unlocks potential, whether that is within people, systems, or buildings
- This, in turn, creates wider value throughout surrounding environments and communities that may not previously have been possible
- And so, the flywheel of making things better in the world gathers a little more energy and momentum
All because someone took it upon themselves to re-imagine the way they live and work, and to align the choices they make in their day-to-day job role.
I would encourage anyone reading to welcome that this is your moment.
Be that first domino.
A better tomorrow relies on it.