Today 11th April 2020 will mark 1 month since my last actual old style face to face meeting (remember those?), 11th March 2020. That last meeting was in mid-town New York to discuss strategy and new partners, 4 people around a big desk and a whiteboard. I remember walking back up Broadway, though Time Square which was still packed with people with no real care of COVID-19. I had already started working from home at this point. In the month since the world has changed. Truth was it had already changed but few people and leaders had really woken up to that.
11 days later, the 22nd March, the New York Governor would issue a State wide stay at home order urging all New Yorkers to social distance and stay at home and yes the change caught up for millions.
For me its been over a month of social distancing and working at home and we are all learning lessons working from home and I wanted to share a few tips.
Don’t start big changes or make major decisions
In such a situation, you will be stressed, tense, jumpy, and scared - all of these making you a bad decision-maker. So, do yourself and others a favour, hold off life-changing decisions - postponing is good right now. Chill. Research. Wait. Ask others. Take your time.
Say it out loud.....
Whether it would be the first, 5th or 15th day of a lock down, with almost full certainty, I can say that at some point we’ll get cranky, moody and overall won’t be super enjoyable human beings. But the better version of that would be to form our thoughts into a nice and long sentence or two and say what is the essence of the problem. Are we scared? Annoyed? Bored out of our minds? Don't just bang off that email, read it first - sleep on it.
Love you but lets not do everything together.........
Up until now, people have spent at least third of the day separated from colleagues, loved ones and family, and it has been working amazingly. Great, don’t change that. Make sure you give everyone enough space and time to miss each other again. Set up your working stations in different rooms, eat on your own at lunch, have a two-hour private call with a friend. Share jokes. Just avoid doing everything together.
Step one two, Step one two....
Don’t forget to stay physically fit. Not skipping your workout routine has numerous advantages, among which fighting crankiness, unwanted fat accumulation, and not to mention that it’s a great anger outlet. Run up the stairs, press ups in the garden, if you have to go out, walk fast!
Share & Care
If you feel fear creeping into your head, don’t bottle it up. And if you are the confidant of someone, don’t undervalue their feelings. If you have children, keeping them in the loop about what’s going in the world is not an easy task, however, it’s a vital one.
Work meetings are better over video at least for part of the call. Also have work fun video calls too. Just saying hello and a wave can be good too! Last we did a ‘show and tell’ where we all learnt a bit more about our colleagues.