The World Turned Upside Down
by Jane M. Ivey
To quote Lin-Manuel Miranda, the world’s turned upside down. It seems as though life has, in many ways, frozen with no understudy to swoop in. So, we must switch to improv as we search for how to get through all of this together.
As an HR professional focused on recruiting and hiring, I’m thankful that we have the tools to transition from in-person to on-screen. We’ve been able to continue growing our team, from making key hires to virtual orientation. Of course, there’s no substitute to welcoming a new teammate in person, but it can be just as effective virtually. It’s about connecting with someone and making sure they don’t get lost in a new process, so we adjust and increase our communication to set them up for success from day one.
Coming together while staying apart
One of my fears transitioning to work from home was not being together. From birthdays, to achievements, to simply making sure someone feels valued, our being apart has brought us together. A March birthday meant donning silly hats and singing “Happy Birthday” on our morning team call. We may not have been in the same key, but we were all in tune. Achieved AWS certifications are celebrated with a handwritten note from the CEO accompanied by a gift card.
It’s even more important than ever to check in on people with a quick call, text or IM. You can learn so much about people and even deepen relationships without being face to face. We’ve always tried to offer support no matter the circumstance in person and with protocol. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to provide resources through our Employee Assistance Program during these months of stress.
Finding beauty in change
Every morning I prepare for the day as usual, just with a shorter commute and louder colleagues. Yes, much more flamboyant and boisterous colleagues that seem to work round-the-clock. Peacocks have taken ownership of my neighborhood and they’re not quiet about it. It’s not unusual for people to come to see them in action, but with so many COVID closures, they’ve become quite the tourist attraction. When their feathers start to shed, it’s an all-out game of finders keepers. My window of the world from my home office reminds me to see the beauty in everything.
We’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. A child’s babbling in the background isn’t going to ruin a business meeting; in fact, many people find it delightful. A squawk from a squeak toy lets us know that we work with people who love their pets. A pajama-clad spouse unknowingly bumbling into the backdrop of a video call reminds us all that we’re not alone.
I think we all look forward to when this is over and we come back stronger as a company, as coworkers, as individuals, knowing that we have risen to the occasion and are indeed thankful for the opportunity to do so.