At this point in the year, most of us are chugging full steam ahead, our sites set on achieving the goals we established for 2021. Many of us are delighted to finally be back in the deep open waters of our personal enterprise, no longer constrained – well maybe less constrained – by a worldwide pandemic. Everyone I talk to is experiencing high productivity and output. But now is the time to slow down just enough to look up and around to ensure we’re still on course to our desired destination. The midyear review serves as an important check-in. It’s an opportunity to
- evaluate goals in the light of current circumstances,
- convey valuable feedback, and
- encourage performance going into the second half of the year.
The midyear review will bring light to valuable course corrections needed to reach our goals. It’s a proven way to safeguard and improve personal and enterprise productivity, and this is especially important in 2021.
The only constant is change. That reality really hit home over the last 15 months. And the ride is not over. Once again, after pivoting to adapt to remote work and social distancing, our working environments are once again shifting. Some of us are heading back into the office, going out to visit clients face-to-face, and traveling again. Many have found what we thought was temporary is actually a better “normal” for the future.
It’s fascinating, if you’re comfortable with change, to watch our longstanding work norms are evolving. From the elimination of traditional office space to offering annual two-week remote working windows, even the most traditional industries and companies are making permanent innovative changes coming out of the pandemic. No industry or organization, big or small, is exempt. Now is the time for each of us to reflect on what we’ve been doing and plan for optimal and enduring productivity. It’s the essence of the midyear review.
Begin your Midyear Review by Revisiting Your Goals
First, as with any midyear review, you’ll want to revisit your goals. Are you on track? Are the goals you set still relevant? Has the goalpost moved? Do you need to stretch yourself more? Put a different measure of success in place? If you don’t know what you’re striving for, or if what you set out to achieve is no longer relevant, or realistic, it is time to update your goals.
Next, take a look at the resources you have or need to accomplish your goals. What technologies did you embrace, perhaps originally just to survive, but now desire to keep in your wheelhouse? For example, did you discover that Zoom meetings can be just as productive as in-person meetings, without incurring the travel costs you normally budget for? Keep in mind, It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing change or tweak. Maybe less frequent in-person meetings can still facilitate the rapport necessary for optimal output.
As you conduct your midyear review, you’ll certainly want to spend time on your people resources. Have you been limping along with too limited a staff? Many people are looking to change positions or careers for occupational now. This is a good time to post employment opportunities. How have you and your team members been working over the past year and a half? Is the current situation sustainable and congruent with your values? Boundaries are a critical component to successful time management and productivity. Many people blurred work/life boundaries during the pandemic. Some worked longer hours, others nontraditional hours. What do you want to see happen going forward? Would you be open to new or flexible schedules?
Your 2021 midyear review should include an assessment of your physical working environment. Maybe you’ve realized the traditional office setting, with designated workspaces, is no longer necessary for the work you do. Or perhaps you are eager to see everyone back at the office. Even if fully remote is out, a hybrid model could be a smart solution, where you or your team members are in the office on certain days. Hoteling – where non-assigned, open workstations are provided for occasional or scheduled, rotating, in-office employees – has grown in popularity coming out of the pandemic. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. After doing your homework, present your well-thought-out ideas for change to trusted parties.
Given the nuances of the pandemic, the 2021 midyear review will likely be like no other before. Even seemingly mundane things like where people are working out – back to the gym or staying with a home exercise format – factor into daily output and will be influenced by any changes you make. Consider:
- Do you need to adjust your daily schedule to transition back to work and get your exercise in?
- Are you and your people expected to begin commuting back into the office, and will this cut into the work time you’ve become accustomed to?
- What’s your stance on masks?
- How do you want to handle discussions of vaccination?
You’ve got the personal angle at play here, i.e. are you going back to what you did before the pandemic, or have you learned there are better ways to structure your own day? And, you have the collective angle to consider, i.e. are some people you work with dead-set on staying at home, comfortable with their new routine? Are some fearful about returning to in-person activities? An effective 2021 midyear review will cover these untraditional and sometimes tough topics
Finally, most importantly, keep the lines of communication open – with your employees, your clients, your collaborators, and your family. Communication has always been a pillar for the midyear review structure, and for good reason. Having a formal, designated time to gather feedback from your team members and clients ensures you get the chance to both collect and give actionable feedback. If you’re making changes, make certain everyone knows. Are you unsure about something,? Convey that uncertainty – this is good communication. If you desire to try something new, let everyone know you are evaluating a potential future change and advocate for transparent feedback.
2021 Calls for a Thorough Midyear Review
We’ve had our heads down working hard this first half of the year. We’ve pivoted and accommodated and made it work. But now we are “returning to normal.” Some of us are ready to get back to the way things were. Now is the time to ensure that transitioning back doesn’t take us off track from our goals. Others of us may be finding that there is more than one way to get the job done. Now is the time to officially trial and/or formalize the productive changes we desire to institute. With your established goals as the starting point, take stock of your environment and resources. Prioritize communication. Conduct a midyear review to set yourself, and your team, up for a great second half of the year.
Sara Genrich is a Productivity Consultant, an Evernote Certified Consultant and the creator of the Organizing@Work for Success Workshop. She’s committed to providing real-life solutions so her clients have time to focus on the things that really matter.