Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. This credo is routinely mentioned as the US Marine Corps' unofficial slogan. It seems fitting as so many of us have had to figure out how to work from home, then how to work better from home, and certainly how to overcome all those little distractions at home! So much about life has changed in such a short time, but I remain encouraged by so many people doing so many wonderful things to help us all make it through.
There have been a lot of funny stories and memes shared about working from home. It's one of the bright spots of our social distancing efforts--new ways to laugh! As we mentioned last week, though, working from home is just "work" for us, as we are quite used to working remotely. But there are still things that we've had to do differently, and so I asked everybody "What has the biggest impact been to your work?"
For me personally, the biggest impact to work is just trying to anticipate how things will be different when this crisis passes (and it will, you know!) With my kids on "Spring Break" last week, and time away from the office already planned, I took the occasion to work a little less and play a little more. But even while I was away I started to notice the emails hitting my inbox, talking about the "Coronavirus Consumer Trends" and "The impact of coronavirus on retail". It was just the jolt I needed to wake me out of my fog and remind me that it's our job to make your life a little easier, and we had better get started figuring out how to do that as soon as we can!
We may be used to working from home, but having everybody else working that way has meant a disruption to our routines, too. Nicole normally relies on her extended family to provide some child care during certain days to allow her to get work completed. In order to keep everybody safe, though, they're all sheltering in place. She writes, "My husband's work is essential and he must go into the office everyday in order to keep things moving along. That leaves me alone with three kids, ages 3 and under! Balancing what I need to get done for work and taking care of the needs of my kids has been different and challenging." Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Our Director of Product Development, Kim, explains that "some days I interact more with my co-workers in India than I do with our team in the US." When the whole country of India went on lockdown, that was a true shock to her routine. Still, we have seen resiliency around the globe and our colleagues are finding their footing and continuing to do great work. Kim also shared a great perspective on all the distractions around us right now. "It has felt noisy the last couple weeks with news, social media and just general chatter of doom and gloom. This week I am being intentional with what I am letting in. I am trying to use this as an opportunity to count all the ways I am blessed even in the most chaotic time and soaking up the quality time with my family. I do what I can for work and appreciate that the world is saying 'we are all in this together.'"
Kim and Nicole's stories aren't unique. As leaders and managers, and even as consumers, we have the opportunity right now to demonstrate patience, understanding, and compassion to our coworkers, our clients, and even our superiors, as our work lives and our family lives collide quite literally right in front of us. My wife reminded me several times last week, when I would get a little owly about something, that we are all dealing with new and different things and trying to find our way right now. A deep breath and a smile will go a long way toward making someone's day a little bit more bearable.