It’s no secret that we are all living through unprecedented times. The COVID-19 outbreak has sent shockwaves throughout the world, impacting the lives of so many, and continuing to produce uncertainty in its wake. We have all been “social distancing” for weeks now, and like so many in the workforce, this has meant transitioning to working from our homes and taking on new “co-workers”. We’re all asking ourselves the same question: How can we help our colleagues practically stay sane in this “new normal”? Although it’s going to look different for every business, below are some helpful tips that we’ve seen work for us here at JD by prioritizing structure, relationships, and physical and mental health.
  •   Encourage routine: We are all used to routines in our daily lives – commuting to and from the office, exercising outside of work hours, etc. With the move to working from home, these lines tend to become blurred, as changes in scenery have become increasingly less frequent. We’ve encouraged our team to maintain some sort of structure (if possible) so day-to-day life still feels normal and sustainable. We have had teams schedule morning coffee meetings together,  encourage walks in between meetings, and exercise patience when meetings are interrupted due to unexpected circumstances (toddlers, pets, and spotty WiFi to name a few!)
  •   Keep the lines of communication open and check in often: Since we’re not all physically together, it’s more important than ever that we keep in touch while the busyness of regular work-life may be less overshadowing. The means of this will vary by company dynamic, but with everybody in different places, keeping the lines of communication open is key to maintaining work efficiency and caliber. We have found that taking into account each individual’s preferred form of communication whether that means text, slack, video calls, or hopping on a screen share for visual walk-throughs, helps us operate most efficiently together and combat the difficulty of being in different places. Our CEO has even changed up his morning greeting from a slack message to a video while on his morning walk. There’s no time like the present!
  •   Remember to take a step back and put things in perspective: If you’re feeling the weight of uncertainty and confusion, you can guarantee your team is too, and as leaders, we have the golden opportunity to offer an example of calm and professionalism that will trickle down the lines.
  •   Extend positivity by “keeping things light” when appropriate: You probably have daily or weekly touch bases with your team, so think of ways to offer an escape from the barrage of news updates. We have found ways to create community by surprising our team members with a food delivery, having a crazy sock challenge (no excuses, your closet is just a few feet away), and sharing our Friday night relaxation tactics. Making an effort to make people laugh on your company’s Slack channel, or just making an extra effort to show support for your teams, can go a long way in a time when that isn’t ever-present.
  •   It is important to check in with yourself: Coping with a “new normal” is going to be different for everybody. Leadership roles should always focus on the betterment of those who they support, but it’s also important to be realistic about what you need to be successful in the “work from home” environment, and express when you may need help or space in that. Feeling yourself going stir crazy? Craving social interaction? Take that walk or hop on a video conference with a coworker to talk about life. Break up the day - mental health is just as important as physical health!
Most importantly, what we all need now more than ever is compassion and to see vulnerability and humanity in our holistic companies. It’s about taking it all one step, and day, at a time - and picking each other up along the way as we navigate this “new normal”.  

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