Until now, I haven't gotten too opinionated publicly about COVID-19 and the impact it has had on our workforce.
Although many of us in North America are still thinking that the lay offs and work from home arrangements are short term, I believe that is just wishful thinking.
I strongly believe that how we work has changed and we need to embrace the change.
For one, working from home with kids in tow, is tough. Working standard 9-5 hours consistently while you’re managing the demands of parenthood and possibly also your partner’s work schedule is not sustainable. The quicker we come to terms with this, and start to redefine how we work, the easier it will be to adapt to the new state of the working world.
We live in an era where we have technology at our fingertips, yet a lot of our workforce is still chained to an office. Now is the time to embrace technology so that businesses can not only survive the uncertainty that lies ahead, but hopefully businesses can thrive.
For anyone who is ready to embrace the freedom and flexibility that can come with working from home, here are a few tips to help the transition.
1) Think Like an Entrepreneur- when you are working from home, it is not as convenient to call IT support, or pick your co workers brain about an idea. Start thinking like an entrepreneur and problem solving as if you were running your own business. Computer troubles? Start by Googling. Have an idea? Send a text, a slack, or pick up the phone and call that beloved co -worker. When you start treating your work from home environment as if you are your own boss, you can become a much better problem solver and also more confident in your decision making.
2) Focus on Productivity Oover Hours Worked- when we become more outcome oriented, and let go of how much time someone spent at their desk, everyone wins. Employees want to be productive and efficient to allow for flexibility in their schedule. The focus on productivity is especially important right now as families try to navigate the world as a confined unit. No school, no daycare, no leaving for work, attention spans are low and stress levels are high.
3) Screw The 9-5 Mentality- this is an extension of the point above, but with so many moving pieces in everyone’s personal lives, asking people to be at a desk for 8 hours straight is not doable. Unless there is a specific reason why someone has to be available at a certain time of day (Ii.e. a team meeting, or conference call), why does it matter if work gets done at 8 am or 8 pm? As long as deadlines are met and the quality of work is acceptable, why should it matter when it gets done?
4) Take Advantage of Technology- we all carry super powered computers in our pockets these days (smart phones), and a large portion of our business activities can be managed from our phones, so why not take advantage of that. Who says you can’t attend a Zoom meeting from the Walmart parking lot while you wait for your grocery order? Or write a proposal while your kids are playing in the yard? Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, and it’s time to take advantage of that.
5) It Really Does Take a Village- in the middle of social distancing and social isolation as the new norm, a lot of us are really feeling a strain on our connections to our village. No matter how this changes or world, we still need our village. It is time to stop ‘waiting until this is over' and start redefining how we stay connected to our village. What does this new connection look like, and how does it help ease the strain of navigating the uncertainty ahead of us while trying to raise children and rebuild our careers? To be honest I do not know. But I do know that in March 2020, the world changed and it’s time we start trying to embrace the changes so we can stop trying to survive COVID-19, and instead, attempt to thrive.