Fasten Your Seat Belts

Fasten Your Seat Belts

February 4, 2021 Good to Know 0

The ultimate roller coaster ride. The one with the loops- clothoid loops, for word nerds. You know, where you are actually, briefly, hanging upside down? Now imagine being at the top of said loop— and the roller coaster lurches to a stop. Your phone, quarters, breath mints and any loose teeth plummet to Earth, along with your stomach. Your heart is MIA.

You pray that the person next to you would stop screaming, until you realize the screamer is you. Just as you begin to review your life, the coaster jolts into action and resumes the crazy ride- until the next loop. It stops again. This pattern repeats, over and over, along with sharp turns and heart-stopping plunges.

Finally, it coasts to the finish. You unbuckle yourself with shaking fingers, fall out of the car and attempt to wrap your arms around the ground. You shed a few tears.

Congratulations! You’ve survived 2020!

“Hey, c’mon, hurry up!” calls 2021. “There’s a bigger, better roller coaster up ahead!”

Are you ready?

By now the epiphanies have been shared of what went right or wrong. Most people have stopped fantasizing about “when things get back to normal” and started thinking about a different future. A new normal. But normal is defined as “ordinary or usual; the same as would be expected.” What was there about 2020 that would lead you to think things going forward will be “ordinary”?!

Here’s a partial list of some of the more bizarre things that have happened— SO FAR— in 2020:

A monkey stole COVID samples. Poland accidentally invaded Czech Republic. Kanye West ran for President. Elon Musk named his baby X AE A-12. Murder hornets, hammerhead worms and super-sized pythons—on meth— formed a support group (slight exaggeration!). And those are just the smaller things.

My vote is for Abby Normal. A future that is more Mel Brooks than a New Normal. Plan for what you can predict, expect the unexpected and be nimble enough to adjust on the fly.

This is an opportunity to create, influence and inspire. Some areas you can impact:

The Workplace

Businesses and employees indicate a strong preference for a hybrid option- a combination of working remotely and time spent at the place of business. While not all jobs, nor people, are suited for this option, the hybrid workplace is likely here to stay. What are some things you can do to ensure that your workplace is a safe environment?

At Wade’s Dairy, Doug Wade is not only following strict CDC guidelines, he’s switching over from oil to natural gas for a cleaner and more efficient heating and cooling system. 

“We are doing our utmost at Wade’s Dairy to protect our employees from contracting or spreading this virus. We are installing a new heating and cooling system that will have Merv-13 air filters and an ionization machine to kill the virus if it is in the office air. We expect this will be fully operational by Thanksgiving.”

Another workplace change is the use of space. Hybrid work schedules mean fewer employees at the office. Some businesses are reconfiguring their layout to expand the size of their conference rooms to allow for social distancing while still being able to hold interactive team meetings.

Keeping Connected

One of the casualties of Covid is its impact on interpersonal communication. Zoom cannot replicate the “people to people” communication that occurs when we’re in the same place together. Eye contact is replaced by a one-sided camera. Body language is limited to head and shoulders, with people posing in unnatural positions as they assess themselves on the screen.

How can we stay connected when we’re far apart?

One tip is to turn off self-view. In our normal face-to-face encounters, we are not forced to look at ourselves. The self-consciousness of a Zoom meeting adds a uniquely weird element to communication. When you’re in a Zoom session, hover over the top right corner of your video. You’ll see “mute” and three dots. Click on the dots and at the bottom of the drop-down menu you have the option to “hide self-view”.

Ramon Peralta, founder of Peralta Design in Shelton, has implemented some creative ways to keep his team connected even as they work in a hybrid environment. In addition to monthly lunches outside the office, they have regular game nights.

Jorge Pezo-Candelario, Manager of Interactive Design and Web Development at Peralta Design, shares his experience. “We’ve been playing a number of games that are fun just for learning about your team, spending time together and just plain having fun. We love games in the Jackbox Party Pack series and they’re great in that players only need an internet connected device (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop) and web browser to play.”

Taking Care of Yourself and Others

Practice patience. We’re all in a steep learning curve while suffering from low-level anxiety. If you are having problems with an employee that you never had before, check in. People are dealing with family concerns, financial worries and balancing it all. More than ever, many work issues have their roots in personal issues. Dedicate some meetings or time at the beginning of a business meeting to see how everyone is doing. Ask them what they’re doing to take care of themselves.

Ask your team for input. They are in the same boat, but they have a different view from their seats. Be open to their experiences and ideas.

And what are you doing to take care of yourself? Just like the directions on a plane, you need to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help anyone else. Be sure you are scheduling time for exercise, food, water…and a mental break! If you are being Zoom meeting-ed to death, pick some time, schedule yourself as busy and regain control of your time. Even if you can carve out an hour or two a week, you’ll be ahead of the game. When you’re working from home, pick a start and end time to work, and stick to it!

We’ve survived 2020. But surviving isn’t the same as thriving. The future is for those who grab the opportunities and make the most of them. This is your time to create, influence and inspire.

Here’s to a most remarkable 2021!