You’re probably experiencing something that many of us are right now: A new normal. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced us to find new ways to work, new ways to interact with each other, and new ways to conduct our day-to-day lives. While what’s normal is changing, we are called to charge on and find ways to adjust and continue working.
We thought we’d share a few things that have helped us stay above the noise and quickly adjust to the changing times.
Set and communicate expectations
Boundaries between work and life aren’t as clear as they once were. Lines are blurred, making it a lot harder to take off the “work hat” and put on the “home hat.” It’s important to set realistic and clear expectations with your family, friends, and colleagues.
Before setting expectations with the people in your life, first think through your business needs, personal needs and what would be helpful to you during this time. That might be 30 minutes where your spouse entertains the kids so you can read a book or listen to a podcast like you normally would during your lunch break. It might be shifting your schedule to work different hours than you normally would.
Once you figure out what will help you function best, communicate these expectations to your family, colleagues, and anyone else who might be impacted. Work with your team to figure out how the work is covered by everyone’s adjusted schedules. It might take some getting used to, but keep communicating openly and listening to others, and it will get easier.
Understand and accept that things have changed (and probably will continue to)
You’ve set expectations—great job! Hopefully everything will be a breeze from here on out, but there most likely will be additional hoops to jump through. Depending on your personal situation, there are a number of things that could interrupt the plans you set for the day. If you have kids, an emergency meeting that your spouse cannot miss might mean you have to reschedule your weekly 1:1 meeting.
Whether it’s changing up your in-home office location to accommodate someone else’s needs, moving your schedule around, or not working during certain hours to care of an at-risk family member, it’s vital to be flexible during this time. Communicating regularly and being prepared for wrenches to be thrown into your plans will help reduce stress if and when unexpected changes pop up.
Be transparent about your environment
You may have already experienced video calls this week with extra background noise that isn’t usually present. Our new co-workers are now spouses or roommates working nearby, kids who are home from school, and pets that are excited that we’re home during the day. These are a natural part of this current situation.
Don’t be afraid to be transparent about your environment. Although the circumstances causing us to work from home aren’t humorous, we all can laugh about the various aspects of our new “offices.” For example, I participated in some video calls from a walk-in closet this week , because it was the quietest room in the house (see gif below). Being upfront about distractions will help to minimize interruptions during meetings and also put your coworkers and clients at ease.
This is the new normal, at least for the time being, so normalize it! Ask the kids to come over and say hi, and introduce your colleagues to your new puppy. Remember—we’re all in the same boat.
Reassess your schedule and priorities
Coronavirus has presented a unique opportunity to reassess our schedules and ask, “Is that meeting really necessary?” Our time is limited, and we have to decide what’s really important. What are the things we should spend our time on now and what can we cut from our schedule?
Consider cancelling or postponing meetings by prioritizing them, thinking about the goals and timelines of each, and honestly giving thought to which meetings could easily be email threads. You’re struggling with your schedule, and others in your life are too, so let’s cut things out instead of running ourselves into the ground.
Find ways to connect
Even the introverts out there might start feeling uncomfortable with the amount of time they’re spending by themselves these days. When you’re used to lunch in the breakroom and random conversations in the hall with coworkers, extended time in quarantine becomes lonely very quickly.
Especially if you live alone, it’s important for your mental and emotional health to stay connected. Acknowledge this to yourself, your team and the people you are close with. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend if they want to catch up on FaceTime or a coworker if your phone conversation could be done over Zoom. They might need it as much as you do!
Take care of yourself
The changes presented by coronavirus might not seem like a big deal for some, but they are for others, and that’s okay. Many of us will be balancing many roles and responsibilities, and it may become overwhelming. Start taking care of yourself now to prevent burn out down the road.
Going on walks during the day, building in time to rest, and developing a new routine for the new normal are all ways to help you adjust more quickly. Prioritize your physical and mental health and the health of the people you care about most, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you need a break.
We hope that you and your family and friends are staying healthy and safe and that you will all be able to safely return to your offices soon. As a remote team, we are used to working from home, so if you need more tips or just want to brainstorm on balancing your work and home lives, send us a message.
Special thanks to Nick Cull from HubSpot for his contributions to this article and his consistent support of our Craft Impact team!