It’s week 8 of lockdown in the US.
It’s similar in most parts of the world.
As far as I can tell, at no time in the history of the world have governments locked down the entire economy.
How long will it last? What will be the impact? How will it affect you and your family—now and in coming years?
Approximately 100 Tuesday Report readers responded to our questions:
What’s been most challenging?
What’s been easiest?
How has you team done?
What about significant others and children?
Many Tuesday Report readers have worked remotely from home for years—that’s not new. But the dynamics of working from home during a shutdown of the economy, schools, and other institutions are unprecedented.
Attitude/Resilience–What are People Thinking and Feeling?
Strikingly absent from readers’ comments were fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Top of mind did not seem to be about catching the virus or the uncertainty of employment moving forward. Few people personally knew anyone who had the virus or knew anyone who knew someone who had the virus. Attitudes were generally upbeat—people are just searching for the best way to manage a situation that was unfamiliar to most. Most people seem to accept what is with resilience.
A Few Found Working Remotely to Be Great
People with personalities scoring a preference for Introversion were usually most adapted to working remotely, especially if they had no children or grown children. They said they often miss the camaraderie of people at the office, but they really loved being able to focus hours at a time without interruptions.
Many readers commented that the biggest advantage of working remotely is the lack of commute. Some were escaping an hour-long commute one way to the office. They were happy with the savings they were enjoying in not paying for gasoline and vehicle upkeep.
Families and Children Dynamics—Lives Lived Large Confined to a Single Space
The number one issue with readers in “sheltering in place” is children and family dynamics. Without warning, families stressed by work and children’s schedules suddenly find themselves in the confines of a single space. With no commuting to the office, and no business trips to distant cities, a world that revolved around moving from place to place suddenly revolves around getting online. Zoom has suddenly become the portal to the world, the center of business and commerce, no corner offices, just a view of America’s living rooms, kitchens, halls, and home offices, featuring the kind of furniture we have and the books we read. Children home from school struggle with online learning, and the utter boredom without outside activities. Parents struggle with guiding that online learning while balancing busy work schedules. And there is the total uncertainty of when school will resume and what that will look like when it happens.
Then there is the refuge of food. Cooking and baking are suddenly back in a culture where people once openly confessed they’d never used their stoves. Not mentioned by readers is the sale of alcohol which is going through the roof, and the governor of Texas has declared that the home delivery of alcohol may become permanent, something that a short time ago would never have happened. People talk about the “lockdown 15” or the “quarantine 15,” the typical weight gain of people up until now.
The New Center Stage—Commanding the Screen
The second most difficult challenge of working remotely at home has been technology. Readers share that their neighborhoods are not set up to the connectivity standards of business. Telephone service drops calls. The bandwidth doesn’t work for teleconferencing and sending giant files. Email fails and you’re on your own. Sharing technology with the whole family does not go well.
In my opinion, the ability to present well on teleconferencing is as important as when websites first appeared. We didn’t know how they worked, but finding out was business survival. The ability to manage teleconferencing software like Zoom can be a steep learning curve. Getting to your meeting with the right documents and sharing them can be as daunting as going to a foreign city. If you are inept at using the software, people are understanding in the beginning, but they soon grow weary and do not take you seriously. Poor lighting and sound make you look not up to the new reality. Our readers find technology to be totally critical.
Team Dynamics—Making Your Team Experience Real
Remote teams are regrouping from the office to their remote locations at home. Many organizations are providing services to employees through their IT departments, helping team members get their home offices set up so that their technology is working effectively. Team members have day to day rallies, with significant others, children, and pets in the background. Team leaders are working to enhance the personal experience of being on a team with virtual happy hours, virtual lunches and care packages of DoorDash or cookies delivered.
The most critical and greatest challenge in working remotely from home is making the team experience feel like a group experience. Work is not just a matter of everyone doing a task alone and then compiling the results. Teams are all about the whole—the team—being more than the sum of the parts. Teams must have well defined goals, form meaningful relationships, encourage and hold each other accountable, and get a better outcome together than the team members would have ever been able to do separately.
Creating shared experiences with team members is key to forming an effective team. We have been helping organizations experience online team sessions using the Delta Alignment system, Myers-Briggs, as well as other tools and team experiences. When team members share an online experience together effectively on a platform like Zoom, they have the sense of being together and processing together.
Anything Funny about Working Remotely?
Surprisingly, readers didn’t find a lot of really comedic situations in working remotely. I found that in itself to be quite interesting. People weren’t too depressed or feeling down, but they didn’t find a lot of humor in the situation. I thought one comment was great when a wife was working in the living room and her husband in they kitchen. At the end of her day, she steps into the kitchen and says, “Honey, I’m home!” There was humor in their world being separated by work, but in the next room from each other.
When People Begin to Work Face to Face Again
Everyone understands that in a few short weeks the world has changed radically—perhaps more radically and quicker than any previous moment in history. Now that’s something to tell your grandchildren. It’s way too soon to do a lot of speculation on what the world will be like only weeks or months from now. The world was headed toward operating remotely and online, and that will continue. The way we will relate to each other is quite unclear at the moment.
We have consistently said in the Tuesday Report that our target audience is you, the leaders of organizations. Some will not survive the new realities of today, while others will find new opportunities. We will survive and thrive through our agility, passion for learning and growing, and our ability to adapt to change. This is a new journey for all of us. We will journey together.