Welcome to 2021 - Start Walking
Welcome to 2021. Have you found that remote work has been tough? The transition happened through sheer force-of-will; but after months the “new normal” is now normal. The problems with working at a distance are starting to become obvious. There is the loss of personal interaction, coupled with a lack of socialization. That link to colleagues and friends is important for our mental health. I’ve been thinking about how we solved that here at Enigmatic Events Collective. And it involved walking.
At first, as the pandemic hit and we moved to working from home, the feeling was that this was a new challenge. One we didn’t want, but it’s the one we got. We have had to think about how we keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Physically and emotionally safe.
We all had to figure out, how to work from home, but stay connected to the world. This will have involved trying out new routines and new technology. Staying in touch with close friends and family is very important. It allows us to both provide and receive support.
We’ve used the trust and understanding we built as colleagues. We have a base in Vancouver as well as Victoria now. But not working face-to-face on a regular basis started to take a toll. We don’t know as well what the other person is thinking and working on. I work better when I have someone I need to deliver to, on time. This personal commitment keeps me driving forward. Remote work and less consistent new work, means it’s been harder to self-motivate.
If you have felt this way, holding on but not flourishing, the new year gives you a chance to review. Does it feels like you need a little something extra? Trust and understanding need to be maintained, to be refreshed and kept alive. Trust, after all, is the glue that makes teams work.
Remote as team work
Here we have found that a regular walk-and-walk thirty minute phone call has worked well. Not a zoom call. Not a text chat. A real-live audio-only cellphone call. Our normal schedule is when we are heading home from our office spaces either side of the Salish Sea. It gives us both a chance to concentrate on the conversation, share what we are doing and HOW we are doing. We have found that by taking away the technical hassle of a video call, and removing other online distractions we can focus. Focus on the conversation; and hence on the other person. Hearing them. Understanding them.
This is on top of the emails, and chat messages, and sharing documents. One phone call can’t be the only way we communicate, but it’s how we check in on a personal level. Not a project level or a business level. A personal, vulnerable, trust-building level.
Keeping the mind clear for new ideas
Checking in while walking helps also in making us open to new ideas. Creating them in the moment together and accepting new thoughts from another person. Keeping our bodies active also activates our minds! The walk and talk meeting being effective is not only a personal anecdote – research has shown it works. For some people, walking or going outside may not be an option. Search out ways you can find to have a focused, uninterrupted talk in a new environment. That might be moving into the kitchen to talk. Or turning everything else off and sitting in the dark.
Natasha and myself will continue to do what we preach. We want to open up communication, be creative and have fun so we can be better humans. So we’ll be out walking and talking, again and again.