Alone again, virtually.

By Ron Noden, Executive Vice President, EleVia Software April 07, 2020

I love the song, “Alone Again, Naturally.”  Although today it feels a bit more like “Alone Again, Virtually.”  If you are like me, you are dealing with adjusting to today’s unique circumstances of working from home and essentially being on lockdown each day.  I hope and pray all of you reading this are safe and making the most of this ‘special time’ with your family.  I loathe to admit that my 17-year old daughter and I have completely re-written the lyrics for the classic song, “Come on Eileen” to the words of “Covid-19.”  You’d be surprised how easy it is to work in and rhyme the words, ‘social distancing.’  Hmmm… better yet, don’t ask.

Keeping our priorities straight during adverse times is always a challenge.  First and foremost, we all know the value of quarantine/isolation and the other important safety practices needed today.  Our families are both hugely important and sometimes so close in proximity right now that we may occasionally feel like we are about on our last ‘darn’ nerve.  Safety, family, and security are certainly the most important things to address right now.  That can be pretty difficult for people feeling the pinch of pay or hours reduction, layoffs, time needed off to help school-age children adjust, and all of it occurring in the same few rooms of our homes each day.  That’s a ton of distraction and isolation in all our lives.

There are so many distractions, trying to run a web-based meeting at the same time as 12 billion other people while the system just sits there, overworked, waiting to connect for eight minutes. Or realizing my bride is no longer an auburn-haired woman once the salon stopped taking appointments. Or my own hair issues, where the longer it gets, the wilder it gets. Right now, I am channeling my inner version of Christopher Lloyd’s character Doc Brown in ‘Back to the Future.’  Every few minutes, when on video calls, I want to call out, “Marty!”

What about our work and our business?  What about getting billings out, coordinating efforts, keeping things moving while many, if not all, of our teams are working remotely?  How do we function remotely, virtually, in a time like this to ensure we keep our business functioning and our team engaged? 

Here are four areas to focus on:

  • Normalcy.  Providing tools and social interaction with our team to make the transition feel normal and natural.  That means socially extending ourselves and connecting positively with others by doing end of day Virtual Happy Hours or Get Togethers (like a Virtual Pot Luck) or other creative social activity that retains social distancing. Virtual Happy Hour Ideas
  • Fun.  In adverse times, some fun/humor release is a powerful tool to help us all relax a bit, while we adhere to the current guidelines and our own isolation.  ‘Funny story of the day’ or Quote of the Day or some shared time to just be goofy can help ease the social impasse. It doesn’t mean being insensitive to the issues, but it does mean not being 100% doom and gloom – with our families, our friends, our co-workers, our clients and all we interact with.  That sense of fun was what inspired my daughter and I to work on theme songs for this crazy time.  Oh, and in a moment of wild fun, I finally read that third volume of Sandburg’s Lincoln this past weekend! Fun Thigs to do While Self Quarantined Over the Weekend
  • Core Business Functions.  Invoices need to go out, payments need to be made, business health requires some fundamentals to take place.  Finding ways to better work virtual through business practices and software – some of these may turn out to be great workflow improvements once things ‘normalize’ again.  How A&E Firms Can Utilize Software to Better Navigate Virtual Times
  • Goals. One of my favorite people, Fabulous Fred once said, “The best archer in the world cannot hit a target that does not exist.”  What are your personal and company targets to achieve during this time of uncertainty and change?  What does your team agree they can accomplish?  If you don’t have team goals through this changing time, how do you expect to hit the target? Why Your Goal Setting Process is Broken and What to do About It

Well, I have to run… My daughter and I are going to rework the lyrics of “California Dreaming” into something about “Coronavirus Dreaming.”  I assure you that, although today ‘all the leaves are brown and the sky is grey,’ we are going to keep carrying on and doing our best to be engaged, productive, and ‘virtually unstoppable.’

Stay smart, be safe, make things happen.