Commentary

Week 2 Of WFH: What We've Learned So Far

It’s week two of WFH. What a week it's been!

Last week we thought we were prepared. We’ve implemented new communication tools,  trained the staff in teleworking tools, updated our clients and scheduled frequent check-ins. We thought we were ready.

In many instances, we were. The teams have done a great job staying connected, and we’ve over-communicated with our clients. However, we quickly realized no amount of preparation makes the isolation and stress go away. 

In the past week, we’ve learned to adapt, banking our lessons learned to make us stronger and better. 

Here’s some of the things we’ve picked up:

There are two kinds of staffers: those with kids and those without.

advertisement

advertisement

Of course, we’ve always had parents working at my company.

But I don’t think any of us were prepared for what parents faced when the schools closed and parents immediately became teachers overnight. The amount of pressure they face is extraordinary.

The first thing we did was re-prioritize workloads and expectations. All non-client deliverables were put on hold for a few days until we could fully understand the impact to our staff.

In the past, we were all working traditional work hours (9 a.m.5:30 p.m.), but now we’re allowing time for checking homework and tutoring. Some staffers are online in the morning and checking homework in the afternoon, or vice versa.

The importance of connections.

I subscribe to the "walk-around" style of management. On a typical day I walk around the office, chatting with staffers, having lunch in the kitchen with teams or answering emails in the common areas.

But in WFH ,I feel disconnected and rudderless.  As soon as WFH was announced, I knew things needed to change. I insisted on video meetings instead of phone so we could see each other. It is important to see body language and be able to connect over our makeshift workspaces. We have regular Hangouts, ranging from day-end catch-ups to DJ Friday happy hour. Providing a structure to our days that keeps us connected has been extraordinarily important and useful.

The importance of the walk-away

At first my days were scheduled in back-to-back calls. My back started hurting, I forgot to schedule time for lunch -- and after day three, I was getting really irritable.

As a CEO, I need to be encouraging and hopeful; no one wants to see me irritable and discontent. What I wasn’t doing was scheduling time to take a walk or just step away from my laptop and stretch. As soon as I started doing that, my attitude shifted and I was far more effective.

The power of gratitude

These times are frustrating and scary. Clients are anxious and cutting back, staffers are worried, the economy is a mess, and the virus hasn’t been contained yet.

But I took my dog for a walk on the beach. My mom is out of the hospital. I hugged my partner this morning. Plenty to be grateful for.

Long ago, I learned that negativity and gratitude can’t exist simultaneously. Gratitude gives me an attitude shift that can change my perspective and my whole day. That’s the power of gratitude.

Next story loading loading..