We are all having to adapt to a very different way of working. Whilst Inzpire has always used flexible working approaches, with many of our team working from home regularly and fitting their work around their families, never have we had every single employee working on their own before.
For some, sitting at home on their own – with only their loved ones for company – for weeks on end will be difficult to adjust to and we are aware that this could have a detrimental effect on our employees. In addition of course, having people in a ‘bad place’ translates to their families and loved ones too so whilst families are confined to their homes together we do need to look after our people. We are putting processes in place for the short, medium and even longer-term for the sake of our whole community.
I used to live in France, whilst still working for Inzpire. From my own personal experience I was sometimes in self-imposed isolation, living not far from the middle of nowhere (you could actually see the middle of nowhere from the balcony - picture above!).
Life still had to go on and work needed doing. I would set out each day a list of things I would like to achieve intertwined with a list of things I needed to do. At the end of the day I would be elated by achieving the former and satisfied by achieving the latter. Both events earned me wine!
This situation we find ourselves in now is different though. We have a spectre of an unseen virus over our heads which could, in hardly any time at all, have a detrimental effect on ourselves as well as our friends and families. Statistically the likelihood of anything happening is minimal but the thought of it could be debilitating.
With all that in mind, I thought it may be useful to share some advice from my time in isolation – both recently, and from my time living in a tiny French village! My top coping strategies are as follows.
Speak to people in the morning (preferably via video conference as people are always interested in the interior decoration of other people's houses and are naturally quizzical regarding your choice of pyjamas) in order to check in but try to do it collectively to save time and have a round robin conversation about what it is the team is trying to achieve that day.
Do the same thing towards the end of the working day to ascertain what has been achieved and the blockers to success that were encountered in not achieving everything – because not everything will be achieved in the current environments.
Try to ascertain whether what you wanted to achieve was that important and if it wasn't, reschedule it to another time or cross it off your list altogether as it may not be important at all.
In any calls or video conferences, maintain the normal level of banter otherwise things become too serious.
Try not to remain stove-piped in your communications by keeping things inside your teams. Inzpire as a team thrive on collaboration so we are all making sure we spend time talking to other people outside of our immediate circle.
Don't let things fester. If you sense a problem then tackle it there and then.
One thing that has worked brilliantly well at Inzpire is our ‘virtual tea bar’, set up to allow employees to chat via video conference whilst taking a break from their work. We are encouraging all of our employees to use the tea bar as much as they can. Remember that we spend around a third of our lives in the company of our colleagues under normal circumstances so having part of your normal life taken away can be stressful. We have found the tea bar to be a wonderful resource, and it is going some way towards replacing the bustling kitchens and crew rooms that Inzpire’s employees are so used to relaxing in.
These are unprecedented times and inevitably everyone is going to struggle at one point or another, but with understanding and regular communication – preferably via video – Inzpire and no doubt other organisations around the world will take this in their stride.
My one final tip would be this. Don't do the Joe Wicks fitness regime in the morning on YouTube without warming up – I very nearly hurt myself this week trying to keep up with my 7 year old!
Our team are here to help. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small, please get in touch.