The text below was written for our global team as some help and advice to reassure our colleagues during these difficult times. We think this would be helpful to others, so we are reproducing here.
It is a time of uncertainty, volatility, complexity and ambiguity – all the things that we humans struggle with (so it is OK to feel you are struggling or overwhelmed). Sadly, the pandemic will have a deep impact, and many lives will be affected in some way – but there is light at the end of the tunnel, as decisive action in East Asia has shown.
The human experience is one of trying to endure adversity by cultivating resilience, by regaining our composure after the impact, by being hopeful, to maintain one’s dignity, sanity and ultimately, pursue friendship, love and happiness. It is also fundamentally about society and the communities, the interconnectedness, that underpin it. The fundamental human values of trust, empathy, compassion and social justice are essential to maintaining our communities.
I live in an area with a sizeable number of pensioners. The community has set up a network to run errands, check-in with each other. Oxford’s biggest taxi company has offered to pick-up shopping for the over 65s free of charge. Oxford restaurants are making provision to bake and sell bread and offer take-outs of their menus – and have also set-up corner shops within their restaurants, selling household staples. So, our collective response is coming together, moment by moment, day by day. And we will endure, and we will get through this.
But now something about staying sane while working from home:
- Go slow; it is a marathon, not a sprint, so leave some gaps in your calendar to go outside for walks, rest your eyes, move around the house and have a break away from your workspace
- Stay hydrated and take care over your seating position
- If your partner is also working from home, give each other space – particularly when you both need to make calls. Be mindful of each other’s working preferences with respect to music, silence, etc
- Limit your use of social media. It is designed to be addictive and unfortunately, many Twitter and Facebook feeds are only serving to raise the levels of anxiety, fear and anger. Limit your consumption of news bulletins to 2-3 times a day (from trusted sources)
- Do act like you’re infected – it helps you and others to stay safe
While confined to your house/apartment outside of working hours:
- Consider cultivating a new hobby, like learning a new language http://www.openculture.com/ or http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/
- Read or listen to some poetry https://www.brainpickings.org/
- Read that nice long book you got some time ago, which has been lying there, neglected
- Listen to a radio station that you’ve never listened to before https://www.nts.live/radio or https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds
- Listen to podcasts such as https://www.npr.org/programs/ or https://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts
- Keep a journal, noting the strange times you’re living in, things you have observed, felt and thought
- Talk with people – you don’t need a reason
- Vent with those you feel comfortable venting to (provided they are willing to listen, of course)
- https://www.linkedin.com/company/13326/admin/Check-in regularly with your line managers and colleagues
- Have social drinks in a virtual bar, i.e. get a nice drink, and go online with friends, who have likewise grabbed drinks https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/continuing-coverage/coronavirus/couple-hosts-a-virtual-bar-as-covid-19-restrictions-continue-at-bars-and-restaurants
- Look out for each other, especially the elderly and vulnerable; they are easily forgotten at times like these – check-in with them, whether by waving from a distance or calling, text messaging or emailing them
- Be prepared to listen, without judgement
(Please note that the above links won’t be relevant to everyone, so why not share any interesting or new sites/interests that you come across with your colleagues?)
And…please try and be more patient and understanding with each other.
Woz Ahmed, Chief Strategy Officer & Chief of Staff, Imagination Technologies