Most companies are working to understand the degree in which their company culture and the way they work will be permanently changed based on the catalyst known as COVID19. Even if they have made some bold statements looking into 2021 or allowing full remote work, there are still many details to work out as things get specific. Employees are finding themselves in a bit of a waiting pattern, waiting to understand the company policies and guidelines that will impact where and how they work. In the meantime, this is causing additional stress for individuals and families as they try to navigate the challenges of right now, and anticipate those to come.
While it might be premature to buy a place in Wyoming or Italy assuming that we can work from anywhere, there are things that we can do as employees while our companies figure it out to design our own flex.
Identify What’s Working and What’s Not
If you’re like me, there are some fantastic things that have been realized through the past six months in how things have changed. I like working at home with my dogs, I’m more efficient and productive being able to join virtual meetings, virtual doctor appointments and be home for home improvement contractors without unnecessary drive and wait times. As someone who was flying weekly pre-COVID19, I’m loving being home every night for family dinners. Determining new ways of physical and mental breaks is something I continue to refine. What’s working for you? What changes would you ideally like to incorporate into your life as part of your new normal? We know working parents are really struggling right now. While eventually the kids will return to school, there may be things that are working for you and your family that are causing you to rethink how you design your work day. What are they?
Rethink Your Work
Consider all parts of your work. If you remove the COVID19 lens, what would be ideal from a collaboration and innovation perspective? How can you maximize your impact and continue to foster your relationships at work? Are there new cadences that should be implemented in regards to meeting types, who you meet with, approaches to communication and team building efforts? Remove the context of what used to be and think from a blank slate about what’s possible.
Ask for what you need
Companies will create a framework and guidelines aligned with company values that try to incorporate perspectives on the work itself, needs of different departments, consistency in approach and the comfort levels of leaders. Wherever your company lands on these things, it is still up to you to determine what is right for you and ask for it. What are the specifics that will help maximize your impact at work and with your family or personal life? Work with your manager to understand what’s important to you and the learnings/observations you have been having during this time. They may be able to support some specifics now, even if the corporate guidelines haven’t been finalized. Other items may need to wait, but can be incorporated during this interim time. Remember, the answer is always “no” if you don’t ask.
Questions to ask yourself (and maybe your significant other):
- What are my current pain points in my day?
- What have I enjoyed that’s been different while working during the time of COVID19?
- What are my values about what is most important in my life? Check for alignment with how you are distributing your time and energy.
- What would I like to give more time to that would enable:
- My performance at work?
- My mental health and wellness?
- My physical health?
- My important relationships?
- The needs of my family or household?
- What is urgent and short term?
- What would I like to incorporate into my long-term design of my personal and professional life?
- What would I design for my life if I felt there were no restrictions by my employer?
- What brings me the most joy about my job?
- What’s my plan to approach this with my boss/company?