Pandemic priorities: In the face of chaos, data still matters – Part 2

Managing the work-from-home workplace

In the past, many managers were reassured by seeing cubicles full of workers. They used walk-around management to engage each employee in the office, to understand their issues and help when needed. The work-from-home movement has changed that. Now, leadership must work with employees who aren’t present and may feel isolated.

I’ve noticed that institutions with a strong workplace culture that values employees and diversity, hold up better in times of stress.

When everything shifted, these leaders connected with staff more often, personally and professionally.

Where workplace culture was not a priority, cracks were revealed, and employees felt abandoned.

You don’t have to have the title of manager to be a leader— just manage from the middle. Support your coworkers by considering their workload, being flexible, and showing concern.

Cut them, and yourself, some serious slack. Be the person that anyone can look to for guidance and reason.

Stuck at home? Call AAA for assistance.

As schools deal with cutbacks and break away from routines, you may be called upon to help out in other departments.

When you get pulled off your pet projects to work on other things that feel less meaningful, it may feel like you are sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire.

That’s the time to call on Triple A: Attitude, Aptitude, and Altitude.

  • Attitude – Stay upbeat and empathetic — not sulky and worried.
  • Aptitude — Make the most of your skills, pitching in where needed.
  • Altitude — Take a birds-eye view, above the day-to-day frustrations

Altitude is the hardest to maintain, so flex your insight muscles to create mental space between you and the intensity of your institution and leadership. That’s one way to develop a big picture.

It will help you keep a careful balance, which is the key to holding onto this big picture, and it can take some time to develop. When you feel a flare up coming on, take a breather. Be patient and be kind to yourself and others.

The work-anytime, never-leave-the-house routine can be mind-numbing, as can the endless loop of fear and worry. Experts with Psychology Today recommend that you try to:

  • Resurrect hallway banter through purely social, no-work-talk video calls with your colleagues or other friends.
  • Set boundaries, in space and time. Turn off the emails and stay away from the office computer after 5 p.m.
  • Spend time outside, or do something physical to reset and recharge.
  • Take a break from the news to disconnect from the crisis.

Where will inspiration come from?

In conversations with colleagues, I’ve heard that they are trying hard to be resilient, but also that I’m not alone in feeling as if time is standing still. There is a monotony in day-to-day tasks when we don’t get a break to socialize or even the change of scenery that going out for lunch provided. Those breaks often infused new energy into our ideas.

Plus, many people are not taking vacations, or even stay-cations, and have no time away from their work environment. With all these challenges — and worry about eventual job cuts or salary cuts — it’s amazing that we continue to produce remarkable results.

Next — Is data still relevant in uncertain times?

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Ingram Market Analytics

Ingram Market Analytics, in Pittsburgh, was established by John Ingram, who has 25 years of experience in institutional research. I practice action analytics. I can turn drowsy data into an active advocate to support and champion your ideas. Get results that you can use immediately for greater productivity.