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We have read about it, watched our local and national media, and perhaps know someone who is affected by the global pandemic. Its been very hard to watch. It has dramatically changed our daily lives and taken us all by surprise.

The good news is we are plodding through the inconvenience and lacing up our boots to continue living our lives. We are adapting and innovating with both vigor and caution. It’s a new world.

The strategic plan you may have set for yourself in January no doubt looks different now. Moving forward we’ll all need to be flexible and adapt to the challenging environment we find ourselves in today. Life indeed has shuffled itself and a new deck is needed.

Navigating these waters is so hard right now. If you have ever been hit by a storm–whether in business or life in general–you know change is inevitable. So what can you do to stand out in times of inconvenience and hardship, especially now?

Here are a few suggestive tips to optimize your output in the midst of a very challenging time:

  1. Health and family come first. – The hair on the back of your neck stands up when family health and safety are affected. Absolutely! We are likely working remotely and/or practicing the new normal of social distancing. If you find yourself working from your kitchen table while homeschooling 3 kids, you are not alone. Having an office separate from the busy living quarters is ideal. While the home office environment is challenging, it’s the best thing you can offer your family in order to keep each other healthy. Consider informing your boss, specifically, what works best for you (e.g., extra bandwidth, X Chair available on; dual monitors, etc.), and how you can be more productive to better accommodate your professional needs.
  1. Stay connected. Right now your normal work environment has definitely changed. Its rare to hear if someone hasn’t been affected. I predict we’ll see remote work extended and become more accepted, even after things get back to normal. A 2010 report in the Journal Health and Social Behavior argues that human contact is also vital to your physical health. As we find it harder and harder to have human interactions in person, consider leveraging the video conferencing technology that is already so prevalent in the workplace—even if to just say hello face-to-face and check in with a colleague.
  1. Add an hour each week to “think.” These are unique times where you have the opportunity to slow down and think. Contemplate, analyze, and plan ahead. How often are you able to do that? Yep, almost never! Being alone allows some uninterrupted moments to really think about life, business ideas, and department responsibilities.
  1. Check in and offer to help. Avoid simply emailing and texting your boss. Call or video chat to let him/her know you are ready to contribute in an evolving environment. Even if nothing emerges immediately, knowing you are on the sidelines willing to help is a great advantage for you!

Hang in there. We will ride out this new normal and soon get back to living and enjoying life’s freedoms. Stay well, be safe.

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