When all this is over, let’s make our meetings count

We’ve been given a gift-wrapped opportunity to make a big difference to our mental wellbeing, as well as to the planet. And all we need to do is make a tweak or two to the way we do business…

Obviously, the pandemic has been miserable. There have been a few dots of lightness and hope along the way, but it’s mostly been a painful, bitter slog. (That’s the gloomy bit of this blog over, by the way.)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been focussing on one of those dots of lightness; particularly how we’ve learned to regain a bit of balance in our lives and how many of us have realised that the way we used to do things wasn’t always great for our mental health. Days working away from home, returning after the kids have gone to bed, or trying to be in three places at once, can all take its toll on us.

Then there’s the dramatic drop in greenhouse gases and air pollutants that’s happened during the global lockdown. I don’t want to get bogged down in the statistics, but daily emissions of CO2 across the planet fell by 17% at the peak of the crisis. In fact, in April last year, CO2, nitrogen oxides and other emissions fell between 10-30% globally. The scientists put that fall down to declines in surface transport.

And let’s be honest, some of that is down to me and you working from home and not trekking across the country for meetings.

It got me thinking: shouldn’t we carry on doing that? Not nearly to the extent of lockdown obviously, but shouldn’t we commit to not travelling around so much for business in future? It strikes me that we can continue to make a big difference to the planet and secure a healthier life balance in the process. And given what we’re used to after 12 months of working in a pandemic, will it be that much of a hardship?

Bring on the fun bit

Obviously, when all our arms are brimming with vaccinations and we’re back to some kind of normality, we’re going to go a bit mad. I’m sure that I’ll be hopping in a car and driving to the other end of the country to see friends and family, and I expect I’ll see you driving in the other direction. And I also expect that many of us will be aching to get back into the office and to those snatched conversations and unscheduled chats about nothing in particular.

That’ll be lovely, good for us, and fun for a bit, clearly. But I question if we have to go all-in and revert to what we were doing before in the long term.

As a business, we at TMP The Mortgage People have a fantastic new office that we all enjoy working in, but I’ve realised that, in future, we won’t all need to be there quite so much. I also know that many of the mortgage companies and housing associations that we work with are already planning for hybrid home and office working for the foreseeable future. That’ll make a real difference.

Business travel

Of course, I also need to look at my impact as a business owner. I LOVE going out and meeting clients and suppliers, but are those meetings all essential? Is that mileage all essential? Hand on heart, the answer’s no. And could many of them be done over Zoom or Teams or even the telephone? The answer’s yes.

Let’s make our meetings count

So I’ve decided to cut down on my face-to-face meetings and keep TMP business travel to a minimum. I hope that other businesses will join me and perhaps we can acknowledge that our expectations of each other need to be realistic. We could even make a double-edged pledge to do our bit for the environment and ourselves, working with the tech that’s been working perfectly well for us for the past year. Thinking about it, we could achieve a lot if we worked together.

I’m in. Is it something you’d consider? I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts…

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