As we look back on the almost 4 weeks that most of us have spent in our ‘work from home bubbles’, excusing the overarching uncertainties, we’ve all adjusted to our new normal. Likely we’re developing new work habits/routines, strategies to manage distractions, and ways to create work moving forwards. 

We’ve made it most of the way through level 4, and as we prepare for level 3, whenever that may be, I thought it timely that we look at what has changed from a work perspective and what we can influence moving forwards. 

Over the past 3 weeks, I have spent hours each day speaking to candidates and clients on the phone. We’ve talked about; how they are, how they’re working, how they manage their teams, what they expect to be their new normal, you get the picture. 

One conversation that has really stuck with me, and I think can be applied in a number of ways is when I spoke to a client on how they’ve kept their staff motivated and engaged during this time, they shared a story with me.

When he was younger he was a middle distance runner, his favorite event was the 1500m. He represented his school and region, throughout high school. Needless to say he was fit, and the 1500m was his race. He trained hard for every meet and on most occasions was well ahead of the pack at the end of the race. 

One year, his older brother (who also ran, but in the 400m for their school), having seen his younger brother lead the entire race and manage to clear the field by 300m, decided he wanted to give the 1500m a go. 

Following in his little brother’s footsteps, he went out fast. At the 400m, he had a solid lead. By the 800m, he was confident he had such a lead that it was unassailable. What he didn’t count on (as this wasn’t his race) was that it’s actually easier for those chasing to work as a team to reign in someone running on their own (reference physics, wind resistance, drafting) and as the older brother began to fatigue they were able to catch him. 

The employers moral here was that we have to remember to run our own race. What works for one person may not work for another. What works in one person’s living situation might not translate to others. 

Translating to a work setting this employer explained:

  • Their staff are tasked to set their own objectives at the start of the week, and have a rough daily plan.
  • Each team member manages their own work hours, sometimes broken into chunks if they have other commitments like kids. 
  • They set expectations with their manager around how frequently they’d like to catch up and best times to do so. 
  • They are open to people using their initiative to fill their time, and open to exploring new revenue streams moving forward, or ways to work. 

As we work to adapt to our current circumstances, I would ask:

  • What strategies have you implemented to do your best work in lock down?
  • How has your employer supported you during this time?
  • Have you or are you managing your employers expectations around what is achievable?
  • How are you utilising your strengths or those around you to come out of this collectively ahead?

If you are slowing down before the finish line, and would like to discuss how you run your race, or where you could run your race faster, Tyler Wren is working with a wide number of supportive employers who are well prepared to make it to the finish line. We would love to hear from you and support you.