These are certainly trying times for all of us. In the last few weeks you’ve heard from everyone from Dr. Phil to Dr. Dre on how to improve your mindset in these times and how to accomplish feng shui in your home office.
Everyone approached Week 1 of a work-from-home labor force with great optimism and excitement—oh, the many things we’ll accomplish in our work and home lives! As we now enter into our second month, the luster of the new adventure has worn off and the reality that this may become the new normal for the foreseeable future has sunk in. Life is very different now from how it was a short while ago, and it’s impossible to predict how long it will be until things get back on track.
With the uncertainty of the times we’re in, the question becomes how do you and your company find success when you’re working from home?
Authenticity is the foundation of a successful virtual experience.
Regardless of your physical location, individuals find success when they are true to themselves. And companies find success when they are loyal to their core values. Together, these principles create a strong culture that allows a group to be in sync and conquer any challenge they may face.
So, what are your organizational values and how do they apply to your remote workforce? Take the time to write them down and adapt them for use during this work-from-home period.
At Celerity, we’re committed to a collection of shared values that serve as a guidepost for how we behave, both individually and as a team, virtually or in-person:
We welcome challenges. We believe in our clients and each other and persevere on their behalf. We are resilient, scrappy and can figure out just about anything.
This value calls on us to embrace the chaos and establish a routine within it. More importantly, keep to this routine and draw comfort and energy from it. That means preparing for your day as if you’re commuting into the office. If you can, try and establish a dedicated workspace you can go to each day that becomes your new office. And remember, working from home doesn’t mean you can’t leave your computer. Take breaks throughout the day to eat and move around to keep your mind stimulated.
We take the time and interest to fully understand others’ thoughts and feelings. Taking the time to understand our clients’ hopes and fears allows us to create better, more implementable solutions. Taking the time to listen and understand our teammates’ opinions and points of view helps us hold deeper, more well-rounded dialogues with diversity of thought.
We take a human-centric approach to problem solving for our clients. The same basic principles can be used when dealing with your own team. Move your water cooler discussions virtual using technology. Set up calendar invites if check-ins don’t happen organically. Have non-work based Slack channels. As Maddie & Tae sing, “People need people when the highs get low.” (Note to self, stop listening to my daughter’s playlist.) The highs can sure start to feel like they are getting low, so it’s important to communicate regularly with your team either through one-to-one chats or through group calls. Make empathy a part of who you are and what you do each day.
We are willing to say things that need to be said, even when it’s uncomfortable. We encourage people to speak respectfully and directly about challenges and controversial issues. We believe that a high level of authenticity leads to richer conversations resulting in better solutions.
Embrace the virtual culture and turn that laptop camera on . Don’t worry, HR isn’t checking up on you to see if you’re suffering from coronavirus-like symptoms. The video conferencing helps you engage with everyone and see people’s reactions (with the unintended benefit of recreating the opening from the Brady Bunch). For the love of God though, stop wearing hats if it’s not part of your office culture. Keep it classy and stay professional. Be camera ready and be mindful of your appearance. If you’re suffering from FOMO (Fear Of Messy Office), some technologies let you blur the background or live out your weatherman dreams with a virtual background. Overcome this period of isolation by making authentic connections.
We spend our time wisely, focused on the actions that will make the most impact. We practice being decisive and acting with integrity, even in the midst of uncertainty. We state our desired outcomes; plan with purpose and intention; and take bold action as a result of our decisions.
Your commute recently went from miles and minutes to feet and seconds. Be intentional with the extra time you’ve been given in your day. Enroll in an online training course, take a walk with the family, learn Algebra I again so you can stop tilting your head like a puppy when your kids ask you what the range of a function is. The options are endless for what you can do with your time. Be conscious of where you invest it and demonstrate it through your actions.
We are interconnected and working with a graceful elegance. All parts of the team are working in concert to serve the whole. There is an ease to our work and a flow in our communications that brings joy and love to what we do every day.
WFH isn’t MIA. Show up for the daily touchpoints on your calendar. Keep a chat line or video call open during the day as a virtual team room. Embrace the innovative nature of the times and experiment with different technologies to help your team stay in sync. Take care of each other and have fun doing it. Focus on what you can control and the value you can create by accomplishing it.
All we can do during this challenging time is to take each day as it comes. Remember your values (and to wash your hands) and we’ll all make it through this successfully. Stay strong and stay working from home.