Work Life in the Time of Covid

I am a single dad 50% of the time and a lonely absentee dad the other 50%. My 7 year old daughter is generally compliant, misses school, and wants to do her on-line homeschool assignments. My son is almost 5, and a mix of Tasmanian Devil and Great White Shark. He does not want to do anything that involves sitting for more than 7.8 seconds. Homeschooling him is like going to the DMV while being lit on fire from behind…Absolutely terrible and there is no escape!

On top of all that, I still have to work.  Well I should say, when I’m lucky enough to have work, because my work has mostly evaporated. Like everyone else, my work life has gone almost completely virtual and I am really having a hard time with that. I’m an extrovert, I like being with people. I crave physical contact with the outside world and I love sitting with my clients for hours on normal days. That’s gone, replaced by virtual meetings and spotty internet. I know others must feel the same, right?


My company did a little survey to assess how people were doing, as we close in on 10 weeks of this. The results were a mix of what we expected and some that we did not.


EXPECTED

  • We found that 55% of people feel less energized by work, than they did prior to COVID. I am sure that this is largely due to homeschooling and/or other new demands at home. But I also believe that people (like me) are tired and bored of looking at a computer all day.

  • 45% of people report finding it hard to focus on anything that is not critical at that moment. My overall output is so diminished, yet I feel so overwhelmed at the same time. How is that possible? I believe it is a due to a mix of stress and the endless needs of my children, who are not at school during the day.

  • 39% report being so exhausted at the end of the day, that they don’t want to connect with family and friends as much as they did prior to COVID. 37% don’t do any additional events or meetings, than the ones they have to. The virtual work is taxing people in a new and unique way.

UNEXPECTED

  • While 55% of people report having back to back (3 or more) virtual meetings, only 6% dread going to these meetings (70% are alright with this schedule).

  • Even though people are in many meetings, 85% do NOT feel micromanaged by their managers.

  • 73% of employees still feel in control of their own schedule, despite the drastic change in the way they are now working.

  • We found that only 28% of people are experiencing burnout, even though 55% of people feel less energized by work.


SUMMARY

Overall, people seem to be doing what humans have done forever: ADAPT and SURVIVE! Maybe even find ways to THRIVE in this new era. People are getting use to virtual meetings and/or other technology and mastering how to use it, to remain productive and efficient.  While they are: 1) Less energized by work, 2) Focused only on what is immediately critical, and 3) Exhausted; they still are engaged with their teams, bosses and companies.  This means there may be opportunities for leaders to begin reintroducing some development activities back into their teams. VILT (Virtual Instructor Led Training) can be very successful and is becoming the new normal. Our clients are beginning to engage in:

  • Virtual Training Sessions

  • Virtual Coaching

  • Virtual Team Alignment Sessions

  • Virtual Planning Activities

Many of our clients have never implemented these services in a virtual meeting format; but with some care and planning, they are finding it impactful. This seems to be the future we are all facing, so the rallying cry has become ADAPT AND THRIVE!


#flexibility

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