Tips To Thrive - Not Just Survive - Through the End of the Year

By: Jaime Herand, Vice President of Graphics Operations, Orbus Exhibit and Display Group

For many people, 2020 has been one of the most difficult years from both a personal and professional perspective. Back in March, as the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to change our lives almost overnight, our daily schedule of juggling a million tasks both inside and outside the office came to a screeching halt.

Coming from the tradeshow and events industry, the pandemic instantly impacted our entire business – similar to many printing companies. In the early days of the pandemic, many companies either shutdown, downsized their staff and/or pivoted to produce PPE, COVID-related signage, etc. The high-end exhibit orders cancelled, new projects delayed, and goals we set at the beginning of the year seemed to be completely irrelevant.

After being home for a few months, returning to work and finding a “new normal” was extremely difficult at first. Like most of the print industry, I just wanted to return to our core business. Working long hours with a much smaller team and creating completely new products was definitely not how I envisioned spending my summer. But at some point, it hit me -- this is the perfect opportunity to start crossing off the half-started projects we “never had enough time” to complete prior to COVID-19. After all, normalcy will eventually return, and when that time comes, we want to hit the ground running. Maybe it is process improvement, new product development or a personal goal – whatever it is, now can be a great time to dedicate your energy to something new!

Take advantage of the slower pace
Before the pandemic, my calendar was always packed with activities after work, whether it was sports lessons with the kids or a cocktail hour with friends, notwithstanding managing a 24/6 printing division. The past few months have forced us all to become homebodies and honestly some weeks it feels good to not have to worry about how I am going to fit everything in. Take advantage of this extra time to enroll in an online course that seemed too unrealistic to fit in our old schedule. Make time at night to put aside your technology devices and dive into some of the books you were hoping to read.

Pivot or expand your role at work
Now can be the perfect opportunity to expand your role. As many companies have been forced to downsize, they are looking for employees to wear multiple hats. If you have always been interested in learning about a different area of your company, talk to your boss about cross-training or what you can do to make yourself more versatile and more valuable for the business. My company has been focusing on creating a more cross-functional staff since we returned to the office – it helps the business and also makes the team feel more valued and confident about their work.

Focus on self-care goals
The stress of the pandemic, homeschooling and our new business realities can definitely take a toll of our health – at least it did for me earlier in the year. When the situation seemed more temporary, it was easy to turn on Netflix, pour a glass of wine, and grab some popcorn. Needless to say, after a while, that was starting to wear on me – mentally and physically. I realized I needed to re-direct some of my idle time to focus on my self-care. If I wanted to take care of my family, focus on the new reality at work, I wanted to feel good doing those things. Prior to having children, I used to be a runner, completing the Chicago marathon several times. Since 2017, I am sure that I have not ran more than 4 or 5 miles at one time. In April, after too much Netflix, I decided to start running again and signed up for a 15k virtual race. By the end of May, I completed the race, felt better physically, and felt more mentally-prepared to deal with the COVID-19 disruption. Selfcare can take several forms, whether it means getting into a new workout routine, eating more fruits and vegetables, taking up yoga, or learning how to meditate – just do something that helps bring out the best, most energized version of you!

As the world has pivoted over the last 6 months, it is important that we, as business professionals dedicated to our craft, pivot as well. That pivot ensures that we remain our best self and allows us to be in the right position for when normalcy returns. As we get ready to turn the page on 2020, I know I am looking forward to brighter days ahead and I want to be in the best position to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

About the Author
Jaime Herand is the Vice President of Graphics Operations of Orbus Exhibit and Display Group and leads worldwide graphics operations for the P3 Group out of Orbus’ Woodridge facility. Since joining Orbus in January 2005, she has played an instrumental role in Orbus’ growth to a market-leader in the display, exhibit, and event solutions industry.