The pandemic has given us all an opportunity to pause. There’s plenty of bad in this situation – illness, death, economic instability, loneliness, etc. But there is also good – more time with spouses and children, more time to think, connecting with others in new ways, and one of my favorite – shorter commutes. My commute from KTN to OFC is less than a minute (kitchen to office for those missing my airport humor 😊! )
I hear a lot of people say they want to get back to normal. Heck, I was saying it just last week. But what if normal wasn’t working before? Were the time and energy you were investing at work getting you the results you want?
We don’t need to argue about whether working at home if superior to working in an office. We can agree that it’s different.
What can we take from this experience an apply to our new normal?
- Short commutes are awesome. I’m definitely going to find a way to avoid my rush hour commute once a month once I do head back to the office.
- Knocking out my inbox processing first thing when I “arrive” at work gives me a great start on my day. Then I can start meetings and brain work. It’s almost like making my bed. It’s not a priority, but left undone, it annoys me every time I walk by the bedroom. It’s a small accomplishment that can get me going. Am I disagreeing with every productivity book I’ve ever read? Yes, yes I am. For me, processing e-mail for 30 minutes ramps me up, and then I can hit full speed as soon on the big brain work waiting for me.
- I’m so done with hour long meetings. Sitting on a video call for that long is HARD! It’s hard to stay engaged, and not be pulled into other tasks. A well run 30 minute meeting with everyone engaged is exactly what we all need. So now, it’s my new default. Are there times when more time is needed? Yes. But it’s exception now, not the rule.
- I’ve noticed we all seem to care jut a bit more about the humans in our lives. We check in with our team members in a new way, where we want to know how they are really doing. Are they well? Are they getting what they need. Are they lonely, anxious, worried, stressed, frustrated. All the sudden, the project status isn’t most important agenda item, it’s how they are doing as a person, because we all want to come out of this thing together and thrive.
- The end is really the end. When I choose to end my workday, I’m right there – at home – ready to take a walk, cook dinner, or just play with the kids. I admit that this was the hardest habit to transition from office to home. It was so hard at the end of the work day to shut the laptop and be done, because there was SO much to do! But eventually, I realized that what makes me successful if my ability to focus, and produce really quality work. And quality work for me doesn’t occur after 5pm. So, I log off, I head outside, and I do my best to not even think about work until the next morning.
What’s your favorite lesson learned from the great pause?