Lent 19: Checking In

Last night, I went to my office to pick up the things I need before the mandatory Work At Home comes into effect tonight. I was prepared to work from home for the next 3 weeks, but the finality of it when I got to my desk was oppressive. Another teammate has taken home his monitors to make his setup as close to his at-work workspace to help him be as productive as possible. Others had taken bits of their desk setup. There were bins in the middle of our area that we could use to pack up whatever we needed. Still, it was eerie. It suddenly felt like this thing could go way beyond 3 weeks.

Bossman has scheduled an extra meeting for our team just so we can have some facetime together. We’re a pretty social group, and being shut off from each other won’t make the pressures of our job right now any easier to bear. In the rush to do The Right Thing, we’re aren’t doing our best collaborating right now. Every team sees a gap and immediately wants to shift into high gear to address it. Even if someone else is already doing just that. So we’re kind of tripping over each other in the race to be The Most Helpful. I mean, certainly better that than everyone saying Not It. But it still makes for a weird dynamic.

My peers and I have done a behavior assessment (most of our whole company has done it) using a paradigm called DiSC. It uses an evaluation to sort people into one of 4 buckets D (Dominance), I (Inducement), S (Submission), and  C (Compliance). Each has benefits to a team, and the point of the assessment and training is to give us all perspective on what kind of information people need to do their job well, and how one group’s style of communication may not work for another group. The goal is to help us understand each others tendencies. Turns out, I am a D, and most of my peers are S’es. That mean that they need time to assess information and evaluate options. I just want to cannonball in without having a fully formed plan. Yeah. Sounds like us. So in times like this, when we’re one pebble away from the high-speed wobble, I’m the only one on my team that does well with not having a good plan before we start implementing. Still, high-speed wobble mode isn’t good for anyone, so I was speaking of some frustrations with a friend yesterday. 

Later, talking with other coworkers, some of their comments made it sound like my friend had shared our conversation. I felt disappointed and angry about this and then I realized that maybe that’s not what it was. Maybe virus news saturation plus added work pressure to help clients affected by the waterfall of closures and business continuity contingency plans and increased baseline anxiety load and … and… and… have gotten the better of me. I mean, any crisis brings this out. You want to close ranks and feel protected. Any fissure in that armour leaves you vulnerable so your mind starts playing tricks on you.

We need to (from a socially responsible distance) embrace each other in this time – which is what bossman is trying to do by giving us a bit of face-to-face time twice a week. It’s certainly to make sure we’re OK from a workload perspective, but we could do that by just doing roll-call on an internal messaging program. A face-to-face is to ensure that we’re ok, whatever that needs to mean to each of us, as often as possible.

This Lent, may I work to maintain and grow the communities I’m a part of. Because when all this is done, what matters most is how we treated each other.

Extra Credit:

How To Be Alone, But Not Lonely, Despite The Coronavirus

How to Fight the Social Isolation of Coronavirus

Will Coronavirus Bring Back the Phone Call?

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