One week down in this curious, challenging time. Our company has been working from home since last Friday. Schools in Massachusetts are now closed for three weeks. And I’ve rewritten this blog twice. It seems that my perspective is changing daily, if not hourly.
However, today, as I reflect on my week, the theme has been keeping things going—for our company, our clients and our families. Here are a few thoughts across all.
We have a number of employees on flexible models and our entire team has been WFH on Fridays for nearly two years. So, we’re lucky in that everyone works on a laptop; we all use Microsoft Teams; and we’re all, to varying degrees, accustomed to working remotely.
That said, an entire company working from home five days a week is vastly different than WFH Fridays. We’ve learned (and continue to learn):
-Microsoft Teams and Zoom are now a part of our everyday. And it’s funny how quickly video is becoming almost more comfortable than talking on the phone. (Almost.)
-Meeting once a week is likely not enough. We hold a company meeting every Wednesday; and met virtually this week with great success. But we’ve decided to add virtual companywide meetings on Mondays and Fridays, as well. While individual teams meet throughout the week, a weekly kick-off and wrap-up with everyone feels like the right move right now.
-We need new ways to socialize. Who knew how hard it would be to unpack pressing topics like Love Is Blind, the cost of purple shampoo, and Tom Brady when you’re not all face-to-face for lunch? Culturally (and for our sanity), we need to connect on topics other than work. So, two of our team members hosted virtual Tuesday Trivia—with most of the company attending, including kids. Next, we’re planning a virtual Happy Hour, in an effort to continue social distancing without social isolation.
When it comes to the state of our business, like everyone else, I wish I had more answers than questions. I know answers will come, but in the meantime, here’s what we found in our client work this week on agency search, performance evaluation, model assessment and more:
-Client decisions have run the gamut. Currently, we have clients in every phase of the agency search process. Some are continuing to move forward with technology. Some are delaying by two weeks. Others are starting searches and still forging ahead. Our goal is to listen to their unique situation and do our best to help advise on the right course of action for them.
-Some brands are more “ready” than others. Clients’ readiness for WFH is certainly playing a role in momentum this week. Unsurprisingly, those who have a remote workforce/model in place are further along than organizations who are figuring out WFH (with kids) on the fly. We’ll all get there, but it speaks to the disruption of this unexpected paradigm.
I feel incredibly grateful that I can work remotely, and my kids have access to technology to learn from home. I’m trying to keep this in mind while I’m challenged with how to homeschool my fifth grader and help my high school freshman navigate a genuinely tough time away from friends. We’ve tried to acknowledge with our family and team:
-We need to adapt the way we work. Whether you’re home with infants, toddlers or teenagers, how we work will change. And we need to give ourselves permission to allow it to change. We’ve acknowledged with our employees that full-time WFH (with or without kids) doesn’t look exactly like working in an office. It’s about working smarter and determining the best times to focus—for some it’s 9 to 5, for others it’s early in the morning, after kids go to bed and/or finding pockets of time during the day.
-Mental and physical health must be priorities. Walk, run, bike, text, call, FaceTime, breathe. (Not necessarily in that order.) We’re encouraging our team to move and take breaks during the workday. Challenges will look different for everyone during this time—from employees caring for elderly parents to younger team members trying to figure out how to stay motivated outside of a bustling office. Our hope is to keep ourselves healthy to help others stay healthy—our team members, our clients, and our families.
And all keep going.