In the height of the COVID-19 crisis, economic and social disruption has set a new normal. Bans on mass-gatherings, travel restrictions, cancelation of global events and conferences, closed schools and universities, employees and students advised to stay home to minimize in-person contact. We are all in the same situation.
Telecommuting is the New Normal
Unless it's been your normal work life, you may be adjusting to the upside and downside of “working from home.” Fewer “water cooler” distractions, more productivity gains, increased time savings thanks to no more commute—these appear to be common advantages. I could pick a few activities that I have been wanting to pursue for a while as well—reading, exercising, spending more time with the family— the list goes on. However, the lack of real-time, face-to-face communication can be a major downside. Add to that the uncertainty and anxiety of a pandemic, families trying to work and study from home, all at the same time...it can be an anxious and stressful time—and the visions of leisure possibilities start dissipating.
I was a telecommuting pro many years ago after my second child was born. That young lady is now in college (although home for now!) and I had since then forgotten how to be productive and efficient as I work from home. An interesting thing happened yesterday as—unlike my usual team meeting where I show up and address a group of people in person—I initiated a video conference from home, which requires slightly different attention. Just before the meeting, I realized that more than 50 people on the video call would not only see me but also my room! I cleaned things up, put a stuffed penguin and a stuffed puppy behind me, and then dialed in! That was me showing my warm and fuzzy self! Getting used to the new normal takes a little time.
While we are each dealing with the realities and anxieties of our current situation in our own way, I find that focusing on people and doing meaningful work helps to stay positive and power through this turbulence.
We Can’t Control What’s Going on but We Can Keep Choosing to Focus on People
This adversity has brought an opportunity for us to engage with people more intentionally. The more this virus wants to isolate us, the more I think we need to come together as virtual communities and hang tight together as we focus on outcomes we can impact - outcomes for our team members, for our customers, and also outcomes for the IT community. And let’s face it, IT professionals are on the front lines of enabling millions of people to work from home right now. And while there is enough technology available for collaboration, video calls and text messaging, technology is just one piece of the puzzle. The truly important part is how we engage with people and keep them motivated. We need to focus on people and their well-being, not ephemeral tasks and deadlines.
So how can we help our teams grow in this time of crisis? Giving them time to learn from home and continue to develop new skills is paramount.
Double Down on Learning
Learning something that helps us do our job better and become better people also makes us feel good. I’m always looking for ways to add new skills that can help me personally and professionally. Whether you are a leader, manager, or an IT professional, learning will likely enrich your career and help you become more efficient in what you do today. (If you are not sure what to do yet, here is a cool list of 20 books you need to read to crush 2020! These books can help you make the gains you are looking for at home and in the office).
Test Drive New IT Tools from Home
This is also a good time to try new technology that we may have been putting off.
For my IT colleagues on the technology front lines, I encourage you to try new tools to enable your colleagues to work from home. At Nutanix we use our own software to enable our 6,000+ employees to work from home...and you can try it too. We’ve packaged the essential capabilities of our cloud platform into a Test Drive where you can dive into infrastructure deployment, automated operations, and application lifecycle management with self-guided, hands-on labs. The best part is you can do it from home and learn something new, without any downloads, and at no cost to you.
Laura Jordana, our Technical Marketing Engineer has written a fantastic blog on how to build your cloud, your way in less than an hour using this test drive—it’s a great starting point for dipping your toe into new tech.
Since Nutanix was founded 10 years ago, our sole purpose has been to help IT organizations be the hero. We have built a platform that helps companies make IT as easy as possible so they can focus on strategy. This focus has led us to 15,000+ customers who are delighted with us. And we plan to continue delighting them.
Each of us has the power to change the status quo. I hope we’ll use this time to connect with people, learn more, try new things, become more efficient and stay centered and calm for our family, friends, and colleagues.
Take care and stay safe.
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