I used to WFH (work from home) before it was cool. Then I got used to office life until recently when the new primary directive for survival became relying on technology in order to create social distance. I would argue social distancing started when everyone started listening to their Walkman and continued to get worse as the smart phone became a real-time tool for instant information, communication, transportation and financial transactions around the world. Yet here we are, now trying to put six feet between us and another human being to slow the spread of a deadly disease.
The rules are the same at home as they are at work. Be on time and be prepared.
Now everyone’s at home and everyone from the CEO to the business analyst is on a level playing field. Let’s give each other a smile and a thumbs up should a family member or furry friend wander into the frame.
Honestly, I like saying “hi” to the peanut gallery! They give your coworker context, flavor, and depth of character. (Of course, no one is forced to introduce themselves, but I love greeting young and old, furry or not.)
Here are five tips to guide us all as we move into this new territory:
- Grace! Get and Give: We are all adjusting to new paradigms, creating new norms and finding ways to make it work. That means that someone who can’t get a baby to stop crying can without repercussion excuse themselves and a team member will glad hit the highlights for them later…or better yet, record your calls. Then they can catch up once the baby is in bed, or before the dogs need to go out, or after the laundry is switched over, whatever. Enjoy it. Smell the garden; sure, get dressed, but wear slippers.
- Don’t over communicate, make connections: Yeah, you need to make sure your virtual team is on task and delivering for your customers. It’s times like these that bonds are formed. After years of division in our country: Democrat vs. Republican, country boys vs. city slickers, blue collar vs. white collar, New England Patriots vs. everyone else, we will all have to sacrifice for the greater good and each other. Perhaps this pandemic will help us see our fellow Americans as people and not belief systems to be fought against and brought down.
- The obvious: It’s sad it must be said, but if you have symptoms, any symptoms, just stay home.
- Rely: Find some official scientific sources where you can get updates that you can depend on for accurate information and follow them. Be aware of the new cases in your area and listen to the local news for changes happening quickly. Follow CDC instructions regarding symptoms, testing, hand washing and behavior in public in order to stay safe. But again, the best way to help the most is to simply stay home.
- Protect: If you’re in a leadership role in any capacity, we will look back and assess our leadership legacy based on how we protected our teams and businesses. Team captains, ROTC leaders, class presidents, military or civilian leaders, executives, clergy, pastor or priest, you owe it to those in your charge to stay calm and ensure they have accurate information in which to make the best decisions for their families.