I had a really weird experience the other day. I was running some errands and had no plan to get out of the car, when I remembered I needed to run by the bank and of course, I forgot my face mask. I quickly looked around my car and found an old bandana. I began to fold it diagonally to ensure I had enough material to wrap it around my head and to tie it. My bank closed their drive through, which I am sure they are regretting that now, so my only option was to go in. As I approached, I had this crazy feeling, sort of like I was doing something wrong. Very similar to feeling you get when you see a police man while driving and you look down and are going the speed limit. I wasn’t sure what I was going to experience inside, but I knew it had to be better than what I felt at that moment. I opened the door and was immediately welcomed with smiles. Of course, everyone was behind either security glass or protective plexiglass, but one thing was for sure, they didn’t think I was robbing the place, and that was a good thing.
This experience got me thinking. With the lower amount of physical human interaction, are we getting what we need or are we only getting what we think we need. I was going to bank because I needed to but what I received with face to face (sort of) interaction, was what I really needed. I have always loved working and leading teams. At the risk of sounding boastful, I will admit, I am pretty good at the whole team building, mentoring and leadership gig, but more than that, I really enjoy it and it is a big passion of mine.
Working remotely now for 7 months, I have definitely asked myself this question multiple times. Am I getting what I need? I always come to the same conclusion, sort of. I find myself reaching out to people only when I need their opinion, or advise, instead of pinging them because I want to know how they are doing, or I am bored or need a break and just need a different topic in my head for a few minutes
During this time, it is even more important to make the effort to let people know they are doing a great job, that you care about them, that life has so many unknowns and that each person is doing awesome somedays just to stay above water. It’s ok to feel like you are failing and it’s okay to take a break. This is the time where leadership plays a bigger role in business than ever before. As leaders we have to encourage, and adapt, and feel, and listen to our team and to absolutely ensure they are getting what they need. For some this may be a phone call to just check in, for others, it could be mandating a early clock out time on one Friday because you know they haven’t stopped working and feel overwhelmed. Compartmentalizing work life and home life can be challenging for many and what we need may not be what we need.
So how can we re-think work, how can we leverage this change to become us and not to overcome us?
- BE AWARE – There are days that my kid thinks he is in boot camp and is the Drill Sargent. It drives me crazy especially when I am really having to concentrate. But other days, I will hear him singing a song and even though I am in deep thought, I stop and absorb the moment. Being aware is not just being aware of how you feel or the stress you have in the moment, but it is understanding how everything is connected and how you can learn from each moment we have breath.
- BE CREATIVE – For so many of us that have merged our work and home lives together, it can be chaos, but with chaos, comes opportunity. Take these moment to think outside of the box. If you were at the office, you would be taking walks, talking to people, starring at a ceiling sometimes. Unless you work for Google, you probably have access to more fun things to give your self a break throughout the day. You will be amazed out how much more productive and creative your mind is when you mix up your day.
- BE STILL – Work never stops, there will always be more, there will always be someone who can replace you at work. Home is different. You cannot be replaced. Take care of your mind. Take care of you. Work will benefit from this, I guarantee. I have been practicing breathing and meditation techniques, and although I don’t always do them, when I do, I feel a huge difference. Whether you pray, meditate, or even just be silent, it will allow you to focus and recharge, even if it is for a minute.
The key take away is not to just understand what you need, but to understand how you get it. These 3 steps have greatly helped me remember to ask the right questions, dedicate time to myself, and to never take a moment for granted, as we can always learn, we can always be better, and we can always be helping others.