Today the Prime Minister announced an extension of the lockdown period. I am as disappointed as you are at not being able to return to office. However, it is the right decision for all of us. We should adhere to it and ensure that the spread is contained. We will then hopefully reunite in early May.
One of the great challenges in working from home is to work as a team. Think about it. When you are in the office, you are generally seated together as a team or a department. Your immediate supervisor is within visual distance or in some cases, walking distance. Believe it or not but this physical proximity helps mitigate a lot of issues. We are generally more comfortable when we can see each other, can reach across a desk and resolve an issue or even spend some down time together. All of this we grow to take for granted.
Move to work from home and all these simple physical clues disappear. Their place is taken over by anxiety, restlessness and generally everything that can be captured by the phrase “fear of the unknown”. This fear manifests itself in many subtle ways. Some of the common ones are:
Managers making unreasonable demands – some actions make you wonder if they are even human!
Individuals getting upset at the smallest issue – some will make you wonder if you are talking to the same person or not!!
Some folks will project being overly calm while others will appear super hyper – believe me we all are this at some point or another
In my stint with the previous company, I went through these moments. Most of them had to do with my compensation. It was sometimes delayed. My timesheet was sometimes questioned after almost a month of submitting it. Some work was sent for another review and that upset me. I would typically spend a day fretting about the issue. I would be miserable at night. By the next day I was usually ready to ‘air my grievances’ to the CEO whom I reported to. I remember drafting long emails explaining my stance, the issue and my frustration. My boss would never respond the same day. He would read it, mull over it; sometimes for as much as two days and typically send me a one or two sentence response. My first frustration was the feeling that he had trivialized my email. The second was that he was answering only a fraction of it. But when I calmed down and read his email, I would understand that all the problem was in my head. Here is what I remember of his responses.
The timesheet review – perhaps the person got it wrong; she gets it right most times. Will check on it but am releasing the payment for now.
Review of work – there was an error spotted and yes it should be sent to you to correct. It’s a process failure and I will get it fixed.
Delayed payments – sorry buddy, I wish I could speed it up but we are doing the best we can
When we spoke, which was once in 15 days, he would elaborate on some of the key issues and explain what was going on at his end. It then dawned on me that just as I was anxious about my money, they were anxious about the work. I was upset that my money was not in my hands but most of the delay was because of international transfer norms at that time. It wasn’t that the company or the CEO or the accountant was doing something deliberate to hold it back. On the other hand, they didn’t see my work till I submitted this and that could be as much as 15 days. They trusted me to deliver and I should trust them to deliver too. I learnt this valuable lesson quickly and within a few months my long emails to my boss all but stopped.
We tend to become comfortable with what we control and anxious about things we can’t. What we have to remember is that this applies to everyone in the organization. We all need to be mindful of what the other person is anxious about.
You have a leadership team that will never allow you to fail. We are committed to making each and every one of you successful in everything you do. Yes, we all have a learning curve. Yes, we will all make mistakes. But in this lies true learning that will ensure WE get through this crisis successfully.
Stay Indoors, Stay Safe and Stay Healthy.