<Blink> and we are on the eve of the sixth month of COVID-19. I know I’m not alone as I continue to process this absolute shift of life – of health and safety, mental well-being, managing family and friendships beyond 6 feet, navigating a pandemic lockdown and oh yeah, adapting to an adjusted work environment of the home office… perhaps forever?!?
In the early stages of the lockdown and with a Highlands’ no-travel policy, there were no more sales meetings, dealer stop-ins and certainly no end-user calls. No more driving to Memphis, Knoxville or Little Rock. I can’t say that I have missed I-40 but I was surprised at how well I adapted to staying home. I typically traveled 3-4 times per month and have the type of personality where I need to have plans to be going somewhere, with the suitcase always ready to roll. I put the suitcase away for the first time in five years.
I went old school, picked up the phone and started calling people – AND – because they were also home, they answered my call. I live alone and I found those phone calls to be invigorating; they provided a much-needed personal connection and typically generated collaborative work dialogs, for whenever the world was ready for us again.
And I stayed busy, so busy! I never realized the amount of work that can be completed when you are confined to the home office. SO many emails coming and going, updating our distribution partners on the latest product developments, applicable for the ‘return to normalcy’ (whatever that meant then… and now!).
Many evenings I would have to force myself to step away from the computer to make dinner (be rewarded with a cold beer), then rinse and repeat for the continuous demands that became my daily COVID life.
Then came the learning and acceptance of remote sales meetings – internally and with our distribution partners, via any number of technology platforms. I vividly recall a particularly exciting Friday morning, preparing for my first Zoom call with a West Tennessee dealer. I coordinated a nice outfit, make-up AND jewelry. Never had I imagined I would get excited about something so simple. However, during these COVID times, you must take every positive as a win.
Now at the beginning of August, Highlands remains steadfast in our commitment to our manufacturer partners and distribution partner network, of utilizing every virtual, remote and technological tool in the book to share our message in support of all health and safety product solutions. Thankfully, our distribution partners remain committed in their support of Highlands’ product lines – keeping us relevant, successful, engaged and busy, so busy!
Most days, I still watch the clock to get dinner going, enjoy that cold beer, and maximize the daily thrill of personal connections via phone calls, remote sales meetings and enjoy the company of my team via the screen. I never thought that would be a thing, but here we are, taking it day by day and month by month.