“It feels like there is no escape”.
This impassioned plea came from one of my regular contacts, struggling to balance the demands of managing global contracts with the duties of childcare, home schooling and a partner feeling irritated by lockdown. “He tries to help, but just makes all of us more stressed and annoyed”. Reminding her that at least she had no pets to manage failed to cheer her up!
While personal circumstances may be very different, most professionals have struggled with aspects of the virtual work environment. Even those who have continued with some office visits find themselves in isolation, depending on technology for most of their human contact and conversations.
Many organizations have issued guidelines about how employees should cope with their changed conditions, but these are inevitably generic. At a personal level, emotions range from those struggling with isolation and loneliness, to those feeling overwhelmed by the multiple conflicting demands of working from home. A few comments that I have heard:
“I can’t stand another video call.”
“It feels like the screen is taking over my life.”
“I’m on call 24/7 – there’s just no divide any more.”
“How can I do a serious negotiation with a toddler sitting on my lap?”
“Working from home just isn’t good for my mental health.”
What should we do?
As work patterns change, we need help adjusting and we also need to help others in our team to adjust. We must recognize that those adjustments are not the same for everyone, and that we should not feel guilty if we are having difficulty. There is no universal approach to ‘balance’, but there are some key principles and guidelines to consider, which can help us find our own personal point of equilibrium. Life is never stress-free, but stress levels can and must be managed. Providing that guidance is one of the key principles behind the introductory session in the IACCM TASK program – ‘Remote Work Environment and Balance’.
TASK (Tools, Analytics, Skills & Knowledge) is a thirteen part program that starts this week and covers a wide array of both personal and organizational learning and guidance about handling our new world and the emergence from COVID-19. Balance matters, whether it is personal balance, work/life balance or balance in how we form and manage our trading relationships. So while we understand how busy you are and how little you may want to engage on yet another virtual program, don’t miss the first in our series and the opportunity it brings to restore or improve your sense of balance.