In Appreciation of the Team
One of the silver linings of this past year has been a renewed appreciation of the people in our lives, from family and friends to neighbors. Even when schedules are full, parties and holidays are better in person than drive-bys. Sporting events are better with good food and friends in the stands than on the big screen. Even the gym is better with people you only casually know than on a Peloton bike or in a virtual class.
The same goes for our colleagues. We kicked off summer with our mid-year sales meeting, and let me tell you, it was good. Many of us in the industry logged unusual hours to accommodate kid school schedules, worked in very different office or home environments than we were used to, and adjusted to new technology in an effort to keep the glass industry and other industries moving forward (and I know I’m just scratching the surface when it comes to what so many have and are continuing to adapt to).
It was a great reminder that no company is a one-man show, and no team can operate alone. We all continue to persevere, adapt and problem solve… and then do it all over again. What a year. To them—thank you. To the rest of us—when the going gets good, let’s not forget to remember the value that each person brings to the team. We are stronger as a whole. And if you ever need a reminder and are the movie/sports type like me, “Miracle,” “Remember the Titans,” “Hoosiers,” and “Ghostbusters” have you covered, to name just a few.
On a more lighthearted note, here are a few soundbites from our mid-year meeting. Many team members that historically work in the office were catching up in person for the first time in months. The casual conversations were certainly different than they were a few years ago:
Like most industries, the glass industry maintained relationships virtually. Architectural presentations took place on screen for many, as did customer service calls. Since a lot of back-end work went into making these conversations happen with regularity for companies, it’ll be interesting to see how many processes stay the same out of convenience and how many change. Platforms like Zoom and Teams will certainly be around for the long-haul, even if only as a supplement to the daily workday.
The future of business
The last 18 months have impacted the workforce like never before. How many times have you heard the expression “New Normal?” Remote, hybrid and in-office employees—each company is approaching day-to-day business operations differently based on their findings from the past year. Where it makes sense, companies are providing more flexibility to be more employee friendly. But what’s feasible long-term? Many of us will have to see what brings the most long-term success, adapting as we go.
Lots of swapping stories around workdays and what it was like with spouses also working, kids around learning or pets in the background. We all have some good highlight reels here, but I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been forced to make use of our time differently. Let’s not forget what we’ve found to be successful as we move forward.
The list of topics is long here and varied by region. From projects and jobs going on hold and re-starting to lumber prices, freight prices, supply and demand fluctuations, inflation, etc., there was and still is a lot going on. And much, if not all of it, is relevant to the glass industry. Constant learning will still be essential to adapt and adjust as needed as we continue on in 2021.
So many friends, families and coworkers were separated for months and not traveling to see each other. Some are now starting to see each other. It’s good. It’s good to see others, to be together, to start conversations and see where they end, personally and professionally. It’s good to have a fun day together, to have comradery and tell stories. As I like to say, industry and business is about people, and the glass industry is no different. Let’s let this be a reminder of just how important those people are.