Not Your Normal Telework: Three Things to Keep in Mind
In a recent call this morning with a co-worker (after a particularly difficult conference call where nothing worked and nothing was accomplished but frustrations), he hit the nail on the head when he said there are three important things to keep in mind in our maximum telework environment:
1. Check your expectations: this is not our normal experience and we have an opportunity to manage our expectations, basically every single minute of the day. Expectations we place on ourselves, the people we work with, our managers, our government, our families, our friends, our tools, and technology. For some of us, nothing is going right, because it's not like anything we've ever done - and yet we try to make it so. We look for things that are "like this" and so our expectations aren't met. Check them. Before a call, before a meeting, before dinner, before you go to bed at night. If your manager wasn't good at communicating before you all went home to work, why would she suddenly become good at it now? She's going through the same thing you're going through.
2. Be patient: Is there a sound delay on your conference call? Are people not checking their emails/responding "fast enough"? Are your kids making noise in the background because they're stir crazy? Dog barking?
Practice patience - everyone is going through their own stressors at their own rate. And honestly, it's probably fine. Are you being patient with your ability to ramp up quickly? Let it go. It's good. We'll get the work done. Step away. Take a break and a deep breath.
3. Listen: do more listening and less talking. Listening takes practice and is a skill. This is good advice in normal times, but everyone is feeling isolated. Even with a bunch of kids and pets and a partner in the house, it's not the same. Our daily interactions have been turned upside down, and again, it's nothing we've ever experienced. We want to talk about it. When your boss calls and wants to chat, let her chat. When your manager goes around the call asking everyone to share, pay attention and listen to their sharing. It will help you really get to know the people you work with, and then, when it's your turn, hopefully they'll listen to you.
We cannot control the people around us. We can only control our actions and reactions.
So you do you, and don't be so hard on yourself (or on them).
Wash your hands, stay safe, stay 6 feet away from as many other people as you can, get a little sunshine, get a little fresh air, and hang in there.