Finding Work & Life Balance in 2020….
A shovel, some dirt and a packet of seeds do not a garden make. Unified, digital communication and collaboration tools do not a productive team or delighted customers make. Video conferencing and team spaces are as useful as navigation-impaired carrier pigeons without the right changes in culture, leadership practice, and team processes.
- Culture: Organizations were thrown in the deepest end of the pool once Covid pushed most of us out of offices, conference rooms, co-working spaces and hotel lobbies. Many cultures are using tools more or for the first time to replace prior activities and behaviors. Cultures must adapt their habits and rhythms. Just as consumers adapted to buying online based on benefits (choice, price, convenience), employees will adapt to working digitally based on benefits (speed, agility, effectiveness) to them and their organizations.
- Leadership practice. Leaders must change their habits and behaviors to move their workspaces into digital communication and collaboration. Remember “Management By Walking Around?” (credit: Tom Peters). #TrueLeadership means digitally “walking around” and being where your team is working – not making them always come to you.
- Get access and train yourself of the basics of the tools used by the teams.
- Want status on a project? Don’t ask the team to put together separate materials for you. Use the Teams or Jira tools available; the dashboards are intuitive and synchronous.
- Have a question for the team? Put the question in their tool – you’ll probably get the answer faster.
- Processes. The business of work – designing new product, developing software, migrating to the cloud, diversifying supply chains, solving customer issues – should be improved via digital collaboration & communication. Just as seeds won’t plant and water themselves, tools alone do not create sustainable growth.
- “One team” approaches to IT projects that include business and technology professionals. There should be a singular, baseline project methodology and toolset in an organization.
- Metrics. The measures of success should be captured and made available as part of processes, not as a separate set of activities.
- Content. Production and sharing of content, from meeting notes to vendor contracts to complex technology architectural diagrams, should be able to be created and shared securely.
Google “future of work” and you’ll be spoiled for choice with data, hypotheses and musings on the current and longer term impacts.
But what about “future of self?” So here’s my list.
- Don’t just plan with family and friends – get together NOW. Don’t wait for holidays or birthdays or weddings. Set the date & time right NOW. Share a meal, play games, listen to music, watch a movie (virtually now, in person later). And when we safely can: drive, fly, bike, or walk to see each other in person.
- Support local small businesses. Farmers markets, family-owned restaurants and retail, the person with his/her own garage or beauty salon attached to their house. You don’t have to stop buying from Amazon or Target, just balance it out with the people in your community.
- Support local non-profits. Food banks. Domestic violence shelters. Non-profit healthcare. Right now we’re all frayed; without these non-profits many would be unraveling.
- Invest in “life” continuity. Businesses have business continuity. Individuals, to the extent possible, need to have “life” continuity. Live within your means. Save when and while you can. Make sure cars, heating and cooling systems are maintained. Figure out your “continuity” plan and stick to it.
- Don’t forget. Don’t forget the lack of investment in pandemic planning that contributed to the impact on everyone’s life. Don’t forget the faint but unmistakable silver lining of clearer skies and cleaner water. Don’t forget the sacrifices that healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees are making. This is not a flash in the pan. When considering who & what to vote for – local, state, federal – think about the candidate position or ballot initiative impact on healthcare, disaster planning and relief and the environment.
- Contact-less greetings. No more handshakes upon meeting for the first time or in a while. Hello, a friendly smile, a head nod will suffice.
- WASH HANDS. Wash Hands. Wash hands, wash-wash-wash your hands.
- Masks and gloves as part of new normal? They are my new normal right now – jury is out as to whether I’ll be wearing every time I leave the house in the long term. (If so, I’m going to need a lot more variety.) The line between sensible and paranoid is pretty gray …. I’m erring on the paranoid side and masking/gloving up every time I go further than my own mailbox.
Check out the list published by Ann Handley, notable marketing expert and writer, in her “Total Annarchy blog: Life-Changing Habits for a Post-Covid World .