Q: What has been the biggest change or learning about this new style of work?
Every single thing in our lives has changed — the way we work, learn, shop, socialize, connect and how we talk to our customers, how we negotiate, how we sell. It is a whole new world and the biggest a-ha for me is how we manage our days. Sitting in this office for eight, 10, 12 hours a day was a daily thing at the beginning of COVID and towards the end of 2020, I realized that is not sustainable.
Q: Do you have any regular home-office routines that you recommend to stay alert and engaged?
I move around to different rooms. I’ll be in my office, my living room, my kitchen. I take my Dragonfly laptop, which I love, to my treadmill and I will walk on as many calls as I can during the day. Just being able to move and take care of my body really improved my whole mental outlook. I also try to get outside as much as possible, especially when the weather is beautiful. It just puts you in a different mindset versus sitting in your home. It’s a matter of being intentional about focusing on your mental health, and what you need, and not just running to the next meeting.
Q: Hybrid work is a permanent shift, so what is your new approach to communications and relationships at work?
The biggest challenge is relational, especially when the majority of my organization’s and my time is spent meeting with partners, customers, and other team members. Maintaining and building relationships is a different skill set now. When you are not going out to dinner or grabbing a coffee, it requires a different level of energy because of how it feels.
Intentional communication is more important than ever. In the old world we would have water-cooler talks and you could get caught up with people and understand, as a leader, how to support them by understanding their whole life. In a Zoom world or Teams world, you need to be intentional about catching up. Stop and ask people how they are. It is a new skill to learn how to drive engagement.