Work, life, balance.
Some of us are returning to the office while some are continuing to work remotely. With vaccines rolling out and COVID caseloads on the downslope, many companies are bringing their teams back onsite which can be exciting and stressful. As we move forward into this next phase, and we’re in the group heading back to the office, it’s a good time to step back and examine what we can add to our work-life toolkit to help navigate ‘Act 3’ of working in a global pandemic.
- Embrace the change! It’s a great time to take a look at processes, policies, and procedures to ensure what’s not working or is no longer applicable is out the door. What creates safe, healthy environments and has been working for the team in a remote setting can be translated to the office. There have been significant shifts in all our lives and it’s important to be sensitive and flexible. Here’s a great guide from PwC (a global network of firms for assurance, tax, and consulting) that has practical and actionable insights: Reboot: Getting back to the workplace.
- Be safe. Continue to ensure everyone has access to masks, hand sanitizer, and at least 6 feet of physical space. If someone isn’t comfortable gathering for a meeting socially distanced, be flexible by allowing them to join on a video conference. Stay home if we’re sick and encourage staff to do so as well. Gone are the days (and unhealthy expectations) of toughing it out and going to work sick. Let’s take this as a lesson to be good to ourselves and look out for our colleagues. Welcome empathy.
- Manage meetings. Working back onsite is exciting as it allows for traditional ways of meeting and collaborating but if we’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that this can certainly be done in other creative ways. While meetings can be really useful tools that support progress and collaboration, without structure though, they can be an energy drain and a waste of time. Have objectives and an agenda for each meeting and stick to the scheduled time. Want more insights on great meetings? Read Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni (or anything by Lencioni!). Companies and department leaders are implementing ways to keep meetings brief and focused, having Zoom-free Fridays, or scheduling a company-wide GSD (“Get $#!t Done” Day).
- Plan Ahead. The transition to working back onsite can be stressful but planning ahead can make for smooth sailing. Going back into a routine of getting ready (yes, that means wearing real pants and shoes again), packing lunch, and commuting to work will feel a bit different but fortunately, we all know how to pivot (Thanks 2020!). Planning out meals, sharing household tasks, and taking a moment to get organized and do a bit of spring cleaning can also help support a seamless work week.
- Manage your stress. Eat well, exercise, nurture relationships with family and friends. Self-care and wellness – physical, mental, and emotional – sets your body & mind up to have the tools to navigate challenges and changes. Did the commute time transfer to a morning walk and podcast? Switch back and use the commute time for podcast time to get inspired, energize, and motivated. Making minor adjustments at a time can make the cumulation of changes more manageable. Remember to breathe.
- Consider Our Dependents. Bear in mind that kiddos and pets can have a tough time with this transition too. Keeping in touch with the sitter/daycare to get the little ones back into the groove is important for everyone to successfully navigate the shift. Find the time to play with your pets, take them for a walk, show them love – it’s a good for them as it is us.
- Sleep. Plan to get the sleep you need to function. We are hardwired to prioritize dozens of things above sleep but let’s be honest – are these things as mission critical as giving your body and brain a break to reset? Doubt it! The CDC recommends 7+ hours. Here are some tips for sleep hygiene from the CDC and their partner org.
- Downtime is important. Give the screens (yes, all the screens!) a rest. We’re humans, not robots! Do things you love and do them with intention. These hobbies and habits bring joy, make us whole, and provide connection with people and nature. Be fully present whenever possible. Challenge: Can you put aside your screens for 30 minutes a day, every day? More?
- Keep what worked. Take some time to reflect on what you enjoyed about working remotely. Did you find you had more time with family at home? Were you able to fold in a new exercise routine? Have you begun a new hobby with the time saved from not commuting? Find ways to keep the positive changes made. Maybe it’s leaving work on time or taking a moment in the morning to have coffee with your partner. Go for a walk on your break. Carve out time on weekends to enjoy that new hobby. Plan a day trip or get together with a friend.
The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, some certainly more than others. It’s been a year of learnings – about the world, our society, our families, and ourselves. All these lessons gleaned from a tough year are not to be wasted. Some of us learned in one year what it takes some folks a lifetime to realize. Where we can, let’s practice some gratitude and take these challenges opportunities to grow and learn to better serve the teams with whom we work, the communities we live in, and the really fun and dynamic wine industry we are a part of! Getting back into the office and setting a new cadence is a great time to take stock of how to best leverage the time and resources we have available to make the most of each day.