How we are surviving and thriving as we work from home during a quarantine

Alice Katter
May 6, 2020 · 4 min read

Learnings from our new work-life

COVID-19 is a modern catastrophe unlike any other. We are in lockdown trying to figure out how to manage both our personal and professional lives and uncertainty. Finding opportunities to give and receive support have been particularly important during this time.

Over the past few weeks, my friend Terry and I have been virtually gathering a group of people - those who are working and those who are not.
Our purpose has been to connect, inspire, co-work and collaborate in times of isolation and talk about quarantine life, and staying creative and sane while staying home.

Last week, we discussed how work has changed during COVID-19 and how companies will need to adapt to produce positive outcomes in this current work situation. Furthermore, what companies can learn from their employees in this experience.

Here’s what we have learned

Invest in tools 🛠️

With employees being forced into mandatory home offices, companies have had to adapt and integrate new tools to make telecommuting work.

Empathy is key 🤲

Working from home has opened our eyes as we are seeing our bosses and colleagues in personal situations and intimate settings. Some online calls have featured kids running around screaming and a cat snuggling up to the keyboard. This time has taught us to show more understanding of our colleagues.

Integration of work and play 🦒

Working at home is a challenge, but also a big opportunity for people’s recreational time. Arts and craft, meditation, or the online course you always wanted to take is currently more accessible and encouraged by everyone around us (even by our boss 😉).

Leaders need to lead 🤝

In the toughest times, the leaders who excel are those who communicate clearly, stay calm and strong, think long-term and take appropriate action. Employees desire leaders who create transparent and supportive environments now and, for everyone’s benefit, beyond the pandemic.

Tips for companies to help employees thrive in their work-life now & beyond:

Go beyond the Free: Elevation of digital Know-How 💸

Provide state-of-the-art resources, go beyond the free version of tools and invest in technical training of leaders to allow productive workflows. Well-executed virtual experiences can replace face-to-face meetings (to some extent).

More Humanity 👫

Companies should offer support systems to consider the mental & emotional well-being of employees. Meditations and check-in calls should become part of the regular company offerings. Transparency and vulnerability encourage people to open up and to be empathetic towards others.

Acceptance of boundaries ⏰

It is important to set aside time for ourselves and the things we need in order to stay productive, creative, and sane. Vocalize that it’s ok to take breaks and to block time in your calendar. Propose meeting-free time periods; for example, no meetings from 12–1pm to respect people’s need for personal time for lunch or a break.

Culture of self-development & wellbeing 🌱

Creating accessibility by offering resources, programming and a culture for taking care of yourself. It’s key for leadership to be a role model in this process, and having people within the company who rally team members together.

Work, especially in large cities in the US, has been broken for a long time. And that is a discussion for another time. Although in quarantine, working from home has taught us to be better humans to each other, to prioritize our personal lives, and explore new things. We should be offered flexibility and guidance to focus on our well-being.

The way companies treat their employees in times like these will be their defining feature in the coming months and years. Because we can work and play better.

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And we want to learn more. We’re hosting sessions every week, so if you’re curious and want to connect with like-minded people from all across the globe (from Berlin-Vienna to NYC-SF), come join us!

Please feel free to email me hello@alicekatter.com or connect with us on LinkedIn ( Alice Katter+ Terry Tucker).

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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