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From Surviving to Thriving in the new work 'normal'

How are you doing? Like, really? How are you doing?

These last few months have pushed us all into roles and situations that we couldn’t possibly have ever imagined even 6 months ago.

The good news? Things seem to be improving slowly – we can now see more of the people we love, and start doing the things we enjoy again.

The bad news? Many people are still balancing work and childcare in a way that isn’t sustainable longterm. And with the summer holidays just around the corner, the work / childcare juggle is set to continue. Many others are facing unexpected (and sometimes permanent) drops in income, furlough or even redundancy.

So it’s not all rosy just yet.

But now that we are out of the ‘properly crazy’ phase of this crisis and heading into the ‘this is still really weird’ phase, I thought I’d share a few tips on how you can move on from surviving to thriving in the new work normal that we find ourselves in.

1. Boundaries

Now that many of us have settled into the routine of working from our box room / kitchen table / shed / anywhere that isn't covered with lego, it’s time to think about how this might look in the medium to long term. With some companies starting to think about WFH being the default position, it’s important to build in sustainable practices.

a. Have a pre-determined start and end-point to your day where possible.

Being at home, it’s easy to ‘just’ do a few more minutes, to ‘just’ log on to check something, but that blurring of the lines between work and home can be bad for our well-being. If you can, put away your work documents / laptop (even just into a bag) so that you aren't tempted to just 'have a quick look' later in the evening.

b. Have a shut down ritual before you finish for the day

10 minutes before the end of your day, look at what you’ve achieved during your working time, and then think about what’s in store for tomorrow. Write down a Most Important Task (MIT) for the next day and schedule it into your calendar. You can also check your calendar for the next day at the same time, in case of unexpected meetings, to avoid last minute panic the next day.

c. Reflect on what working, and what's not

This is an ever changing situation - so take some time on a weekly basis to think about what's going well work-wise and what needs tweaking, rather than just suffering on through

2. Communication

Now that we can’t just stick our head’s round the boss’s door, or leave a post-it note on someone’s desk, think about how you might need to adapt how you communicate with your managers and team.

1. Try a daily planning / wrap up email

This can just be a list what you are planning on doing that day, and at the end of day where you have got to.

2. Consider a team project management tool

If it would be useful, look at using something like Trello or Asana to collate everything for your team.

3. Use email wisely

Do you really need to be sending an email to 40 people, or can it just be 5? Information overload is a growing problem, and a more targeted communication approach can help ensure you actually get the response you need!

3. Build relationships

I was recently part of a roundtable event on the subject of surviving and thriving in the new work normal, and the most common thing to come out of the event was the need to keep building relationships, and taking the time to nurture the ones that are important to us.

a. Within your team / company

The lack of daily small talk, chats over a cup of tea etc has meant that it’s easy for people to feel disconnected when working remotely, so think about how you can bring back these moments – for example, set up Zoom ‘water cooler chats’ for people to chat over coffee mid morning, or over lunch, set up meetings to run a few minutes earlier so people can drop in and chat before the meeting starts?

b. External to your company

Continuing to build your external network is crucial right now, not just for career development but also depending on your industry, for bringing in work. Some ways to approach this include attending (or organising) online roundtable / networking events, “speed networking” events or inviting contacts to a virtual (or perhaps even a socially distant if local) coffee?

There is no doubt that this is a weird time, and it adapting to it is going to take a bit of an effort but, given that there is likely to be a ‘new normal’ for a while, it’s in all of our interests to make the best of the situation in whatever way we can!

If you’d like to talk about how to make the best of the situation you find yourself in right now, do get in touch. You can book a call with me here, or come and find me in the Career Confidence Club, my free facebook group for women who want to build the careers that work for them.

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