Starting from March 16th, I am in full-time Work From Home mode, the transition is almost flawless, and nothing major to report on that topic.
I will share a few insights into what I am experiencing, these insights are things that have stuck with me over the past months, not one-off learnings, it is consistent throughout, which is why I am writing about it.
I manage a team who are in multiple locations, either in an office or remotely working from home, and that is not something new to me, approaching 3-years with that.
What we did as a team, shortly after the lockdown is set up a permanent Zoom link for any of us, at any time, to join and hang out together. The link is added to our Slack team channel description, it is very easy to find within the Slack UI, so, it’s effectively a one-click process and human contact, woohoo!
I find that very helpful, mentally, although it is not in-person contact, it helps to fill that void left by not working in an office. When the need arises to plough through some emails, it’s nice to join the Zoom link and catch up with a colleague at the same time, that banter, that random conversation, these things go a long way in keeping your sanity. Do not underestimate the positive effect this has on you.
Critical takeaway and learning from this, we don’t need to be in a lockdown to have a permanent Zoom link, let’s keep it, permanent.
This needs to be an official term within the workplace. Zoom meetings are dominating my days, I rarely have a gap, and by the end of the day I am exhausted.
At first, it was hard to think why, as I sit a lot in my comfy chair most of day, meaning a real lack of physical exercise (that’s another problem), so how can I be exhausted. Naturally, I did some research, and this is the article I related most too, titled: The Reason Zoom Calls Drain Your Energy.
- Video calls require more focus.
- Video chats mean we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, the tone and pitch of the voice, and body language.
- Connection issues, lag, audio problems all contribute to additional stresses.
- Every time we join a Zoom call we are reminded of the Pandemic.
- Aspects of my life used to be separate – work, friends, family, now, it’s all in the same place.
Critical takeaway and learning from this, take Zoom calls that are absolutely necessary. Take 25/50 minute calls instead of 30/60 minute calls so you have a small gap. Turn your camera off in larger group meetings.
Consistency is a crucial ingredient to high performing teams, we need to be able to spot the great things we do and keep doing those things consistently over a sustained period. At some point in the future, the great thing you started doing becomes second nature.
The Pandemic certainly made an attempt to disrupt our consistency, it is important, as a leader, I am aware of any potential dips in performance and guide the team through any difficult periods.
Crucial takeaways and learning on this. Always be aware of performance dips, lookout out for them proactively so you can course-correct before it becomes a bigger problem.
Producing Work is Slow to Non-Existent:
Producing any type of work is very difficult during these times, my days are filled with Zoom meetings and working with our customers in helping them to create amazing games.
I need to adapt my work output quite drastically, I lean more on my team for the work I would have produced in the past. Tasks such as Proof of Concepts, Development work, Technical Training have had to take a back seat. My focus is solely on how I can be as effective as possible in my Zoom meetings, then onto the next one. In the evenings and on weekends, the term Zombified has been brandished in my direction many times. Time to fix it.
Crucial takeaways and learnings from this. I am starting to break out of this cycle as off this week.
- Only taking those necessary Zoom calls
- Making time to connect casually with my colleagues
- Identifying what I was doing really well consistently before vs now
Bringing those back into my workday is working remarkably well so far.
What have been your crucial takeaways and learnings from the lockdown experience.