I was thinking yesterday about the plans I made in January for the first six months of this year, and how different they are to the reality we are living today. I never saw this coming; I don’t think any of us did. The year was starting so well, and now, we’re currently in lockdown in my city, scrambling to keep our company operations going. COVID-19 found us in the middle of the construction of one building and two weeks away from finishing another one, and we had to, nevertheless, pause our construction activities today.
I’m having a hard time gathering my thoughts and finding my way through this. It’s shocking, yet we are all in the same boat.
The way that the world has stopped is unfathomable, but it also underlines its interconnectedness. Our society has been immensely enriched in the last decades by our many linkages, especially through new modes of communication. These very connections, though, make us more fragile – one broken link in the chain affects us all. We are all in this together.
Although I’ve written about it and theorized about the concept of interconnectedness, seeing it play out the way it is with COVID-19 is stunning. What started in Wuhan, China, has made its way all over the world, marking us as carriers, causing severe damage in its path. I can’t say I’m glad to be a part of it, but it takes my breath away when I look at the big picture.
Our Company’s Journey
At the company level, of course, we are taking all the necessary measures, but even those actions have been difficult because things have been continuously changing. At first, we had to quickly arrange to leave a security team at our two buildings.
We then had to reorganize the rest of our teams to telecommute. We are lucky because all our systems have been cloud-based since our inception in 2015, and we are used to working with these tools. What we had not experienced before was working remotely as an entire company. This week has been a struggle to move to a different way of working. I am proud to say, though, that we adapted quickly and have maintained our pace of work.
We had to make some adjustments, of course. Our engineers supervise our sites and ensure all our contractors and crew are moving forward according to schedule. In their case, we are reassigning them to other teams that need the extra pairs of hands to get through accumulated projects and work that the crisis created.
Without a clear path or timeline, we are trying to maintain the regular rhythm of our work. We are also planning, trying to foresee and plan as much as we can. The future is uncertain, but we are taking actions to ensure we come out as strong as possible.
Some Initial Personal Lessons
Some people are taking the opportunity to take courses, catch up on projects, or read books they have meant to read for a while. There are some of us, though, for whom this crisis has asked us to manage much more work than usual, particularly if you are a parent. For those of us in that situation, this is what I have learned:
Create some form of routine: if possible, try to maintain the primary rhythms in your routine to retain some sense of normalcy and control. For example, if you usually work out early in the morning, try to keep that same habit.
Be realistic: you won’t be the perfect chef, teacher, or housekeeper on top of your regular work responsibilities. Adapt your routine to new realities, such as homeschooling, and don’t feel bad for feeling overwhelmed or that you don’t have it together (no one does).
Take time for yourself: if you are not centered, you will not be able to deal with this challenging situation in the best way you know how to. Whether it is meditation or your favorite hobby, reserving some space for yourself will keep you sane.
If anything, this crisis can teach us about resilience and adaptability. I have faith in the human ability to adjust. I wish you and your companies all the best as you navigate these turbulent times. Stay healthy!