April 21, 2020
As we are now on our way to a full month of lockdown, what have we learned?
- Maintain that routine! From what was a significant change, routine has given control and focus. The agreed ways of working that you introduced should now be a habit.
- Mind the (affinity) gap! Not to assume that less is more and that others understand your cues and shorthand. We now have not just physical and operational distance between us – we have affinity distance too. So, project more of whatever message that you’re sending. It has distance and obstacle to overcome.
- There are new norms! Not just in our lockdown routine, but how we interact with colleagues with protocol and ‘manners’ in Zoom/Webex/Team calls…. Amidst all this, we recognise the need for clarity in communicating. Being clear on your available hours or timescale expectations for example. What needs no response and what needs a response by the end of the day.
- There is opportunity and risk in our current digital reality. Those you would classify as Introverts are sometimes less inhibited in this environment and therein can seem to offer more. In addition, all the add-on assumptions to our communication, the meta-communication as it is called, is different in a virtual environment than in person (there is meaning taken from that sentence or emoji, that might differ from an intention).
- Managing ‘work space’ has benefits. It’s mandatory when working from the kitchen table but creating order helps. An environment that is clutter free and business like as it possibly can be – but leave the kids drawings on the wall, this is your home after all.
- Boundaries are working. It’s still a bit messy but keep communicating those boundaries and new norms as your working hours and environment. Whether, manager, postie or children, agree and communicate when you’re available to all who are likely to seek you out (but don’t worry if children run into the room during the conference call!). And if we close the computer and make ourselves available to the world outside work at a certain time, make a real effort to honour that boundary.
- It may be mandatory to tidy away your office in a busy house but you are also beginning to understand the benefits of closing a working day in an orderly way, ready for tomorrow. It also enables you to be more engaged with your household.
- Kindness #1. Kindness is more apparent. It really is ‘nice to be nice’! This is a very difficult, anxious time for many. Not all are catching up with box sets or blockbuster novels. Some will have loved ones affected by this tragedy. Help and be kind to colleagues, neighbours. Helping others helps us – it feels good.
- Kindness #2. It’s ok to be anxious. Be kind to yourself. People now are now more active in measures that help their mental and physical health. Exercise is an example. Whether you’re into Joe Wicks, online yoga or just a brisk walk around the block, you can feel the difference exercise makes to your work and your resilience through all this. Some may end up fitter than we started.
- Limit the amount of ‘news’ you watch. The conspiracy theory, the fake, are everywhere. Limit your exposure to all that and ensure that what you are exposed to is a reliable source.