What day is it again?:
Thoughts on working during a pandemic
We can all agree, it’s been a long, strange three months. With workplaces opening again, it seemed like a good time to reflect on the grand social (or anti-social) experiment of working in lockdown.
What have we learned? And how have we changed? We asked around our office (virtually, of course) to find out.
Surprisingly, much of our experience has been positive
Sure, it was an adjustment, but there have been plenty of revelations beyond all-day pajama bottoms. Some nuggets:
Everyone is human. Zoom reminds us daily by providing an amazing little window into people’s lives. This front-row view has broken down barriers and leveled the playing field between us.
The CMO has unstable Wi-Fi, too. The product manager has, um, interesting taste in art. The digital director’s kitchen table is overrun with 100 sprouting potatoes awaiting planting. There’s now a level of personal connection and openness that just didn’t exist before.
“There’s something about seeing everyone in their homes, hearing their kids and dogs, that brings people closer.”
It’s scary how quickly we adapt. One big worry was how to work together when we’re not, well, together. As it turns out, a quick Zoom with screen share is the new “over the shoulder” collaboration. You don’t even need to set up a formal meeting. Just click on a name and the doorbell rings.
Remote client meetings are better, too. We get such helpful feedback via video – through people’s expressions and reactions – it’s hard to see going back to conference calls again.
“Working from home works when you have a strong team that wants to make it work.”
It’s made us more resourceful. In the blink of an eye, we’ve seen entire businesses transformed and new ones spring to life. Online brainstorming spaces. Collaborations to produce medical equipment. Work-from-home clothing lines (and, yes, the trikini). It shows just what can be done.
With more time to ideate now, it’s easier to move from “I’ll do that one day” to “Why not now?” After being by yourself, you also tend to listen more when you engage. Deeper listening leads to better thinking and outcomes.
“What is the new new? How can we shape that? There is an amazing silver lining here – we just need to poke a bit to find it.”
We each find our own ways to deal. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves personally these past three months (we’ve had a lot of time to think!).
- “Allowing myself to walk – not sprint – through the day, pausing to contemplate, is an entirely new paradigm for me.”
- “It helps to punctuate the day with simple pleasures. And turn off the news.”
- “Multi-tasking is a myth. For me, I’m only truly useful to myself and others if I’m focused – be it on work or homeschool.”
- “We can be so creative when we have time, whether it’s using detergent bottles to work out (No pain, no Gain!), creating pillow forts or learning new skills.”
- “I can live 24/7 in a confined space with my spouse without wanting to kill him.” [Your mileage may vary on that one.]
We’re not as important as we think we are. Nothing like a pandemic, and senseless killings in the street, to put things in perspective.
As overwhelmed as we may feel, others have it worse. Kindness matters so much more than we thought. And a simple gesture can change an entire dynamic.
“I’ve learned that compassion and empathy are just as important – if not more so – than knowledge.”
A parting thought
As eye-opening as quarantine has been, we very much look forward to sitting face-to-face with you again, mask-free, without even a thought of taking a mental measurement of the distance between us. Until that day comes, we’ll see you on Zoom!