I was lamenting to a friend the other day that in a pandemic climate, you’re either forcibly shut down [and so – as a result – forcibly not working], or you’re working more than you ever have in your entire GD life [FYI? I’m the latter].
In the last month, this has really clicked for me because I speak to friends who are either crying [legitimately crying] because they’re not working at all, or they’re crying [legitimately crying] because they’re literally working all day / eating dinner / switching the computer back on [which by the way, is often in the slapped-together-bedroom-office] and subsequently working into the evening, too. And when they’re finally finished? … they wearily turn the computer off > brush their teeth > and take the less-than-10-steps from “office” > to bathroom > to bed.
And it’s just like … there’s no in between any more? Because I honestly haven’t heard a single story of someone who is unable to relate to the above described scenarios, and who is subsequently just someone in this 2020 climate who has the perfect work-life balance.
Instead? It’s like we seemingly have people-who-are-crying-because-they’re-not-working and would give anything to be the people-who-are-crying-because-their-whole-life-has-become-work-now, and vice-versa. And I can’t speak from the experience of being the person who has been forced to stop working [if that’s you? As an empath, I am so sorry], but I can honestly say that it’s just a seriously surreal experience to one day be told that there’s this virus > and you have to prepare to WFH now > and you’re unsure how long this will be for > and it all begins as a novelty [and then quickly becomes an unbelievably hellish experience], and x7 months later? … when you’re told this virus has just about stopped the entire world, you’re all like, “but has the world even stopped? Because I’m all over here working 14 hour days, waiting [nay hanging] for a moment where I can just stop”.
It really dawned on me when I finally spoke to a best friend [for the first time in months] the other week who hails from an industry that was forcibly closed, and she was describing how you can just about lose your mind from having nothing [literally nothing] to do. She said, “Cherie, I can’t describe this and it’s the polar opposite of what you’re experiencing … but I wouldn’t wish this nothing’ness on anyone”. And all I could say was, “I literally cannot imagine, and I’m so sorry for you” whilst not being able to say, “I’d give anything for nothing’ness right now”.
It made me realise, nobody wants to be forcibly shut right now, but nor do they want to be the 24/7 hamster-on-a-wheel with zilch boundaries between home > work > life in general. And all o’ that made me realise, gosh, I haven’t spoken to a single person who’s been able to say to me, “actually, this pandemic has been incredible for me. I finally have the work/life balance I’ve always dreamt of having”.
Please. If you’re that person? Drop a comment in the comments below this blog post, because I want to believe that there are some individuals out there who have found that in amongst all of this 2020’ness, ha!
I’ve been thinking about my team so much, tbh. I’ve wanted nothing more than to be able to gift them the gift of nothing’ness right now. Just … an ability to stop, y’know? And so I brainstormed this idea where we did a thing called “working a skeleton week”. The dream for me was to split into x2 teams [A and B], and in one week? Team A worked their rings off [with contractor support thrown in to avoid burnout] so that team B could take the week off, and then we’d switch it up etc. But when I presented that idea it was obvious it wouldn’t work, and just hearing that made me feel so deflated [I still do feel a little deflated, if I’m being honest].
Why am I deflated? Well, it’s probably because pre-pandemic? I’d have enough energy to troubleshoot “skeleton week” to a point where it was actually serviceable, but pandemic-me is just like, “ok. Not do’able. Bummer”.
This week we had a consultant at our offices putting a report together for us to show us what a COVID safe or “new normal” work year might look like in our offices for 2021 [if we’re legally allowed to return to them, of course], and just having that report land in my inbox and be able to see that it might be possible to return to work for a “new normal” some time in 2021 really did fill me with hope. Sure. It looks so different, i.e splitting our team up into A and B teams > working different days > splitting desks out across multiple levels of our building instead of all together etc. but for an organisational leader who sits as an ‘i’ on the DISC scale? … I was thrilled at the thought of being able to collaborate in-person again / get creative / go back to our usual “huddle-like” processes when we brainstorm strategic ideas for our clients etc., and it pulled me out of that 2020 slump just a little, and that was a wonderful feeling.
Once I got the report? … I flicked it to a professional organise’y friend and said, “can you bring this to life within the office, as I have 0.00001 seconds each day to be able to pull this off myself” and she was like, “sure! … when I’m legally allowed to enter your vacant building”, ha!
The future is looking bright[er]. I am so ready to pull the things that “pandemic-worked” for us into our new way of working in 2021 [and believe me, there’s a lot that has worked!], and I am also so ready to drop the things that haven’t [for me personally? It’s creative / strategic / collaborative meetings run via Zoom. It’s impossible, and with my being a frustratingly collaborative ‘i’ on the DISC scale? … I’m ready to wave goodbye to team meetings on Zoom that require creativity forevermore]. #getinthebin #lol
Organisational leaders, are you out there? What’s worked for your organisation in this climate, and what hasn’t? … always keen to hear from you > learn more > be better, from knowing better.