Like most of you, the team at Function Point is working remotely. Our home/work life dynamics are now blurred, with those of us who are single and live alone enjoying the freedoms that come with having to stay accountable to only yourself. Others living with roommates and sharing a space are learning new ways to compromise while using common living spaces. The most engaging (especially during conference calls) are the team members with families and little ones home from school, bored and demanding time- the time and attention many of us feel guilty we can’t fully provide. How we navigate our new normal from home and conduct meetings has definitely changed.
What we have found amongst our team members are subtle observances and change in attitudes towards our work/home dynamics. Team members that live on their own have shared that when they shifted from working at the office to working from home, they initially enjoyed the quiet of being home alone with no distractions. One team member mentioned that there had been construction noise across the street that they found annoying and now, several months in, she found the voices of the construction workers and their hammers somewhat soothing! Others have admitted how convenient it was having the refrigerator and kitchen easily accessible, having the opportunity to eat when and what they want. Now, two months in and a few pounds heavier, they are finding the solitude of their home becoming a little claustrophobic. The novelty has worn off. Humans are social beings and many of us are looking forward to being back in the office and seeing everyone in person again, while observing physical distancing of course. It will be interesting to see how that will look with the new regulations. As some may or may not know, Function Point is moving to new offices in July. There is so much to consider prior, during and after the move, which we could not have perceived when the decision to move was made in 2019. The health and safety for all is paramount and we have put together some very easy examples of initiatives that Function Point has adopted to help keep the mental and physical health of our employees as top priority.
For the time being, our daily in-person stand up meetings have been replaced with daily check-ins via Microsoft Teams. It is a great way to see each other’s faces and feel connected. We have the opportunity to say hello to our coworkers and the freedom to speak openly on everything that is going well, challenges we are facing, and obstacles that are actually hard whether business related or not. The safe space we have with each other knowing that we have permission to be honest and that we are not judged for sharing, has been very reassuring and welcomed. It takes a level of trust and respect to be vulnerable. Knowing that you are supported, heard, and that you matter is incredibly important at this time. This is a leadership quality that is often spoken of but rarely put to practice on a such a wide scale. What we have found at Function Point is that having a daily check in, at the same time every day, establishes a routine and gives each one of us something to look forward to. It also establishes accountability- knowing that we are required to show up is comforting because it is a daily reminder that we matter and that our team counts on each of us to be present.
We are also using Microsoft Teams for calling our clients in addition to communicating with each other. Some of us are choosing to only have a photo rather than showing our faces in a call. Why? Experiencing a bad hair day, week, or month comes to mind…or the dog keeps licking the screen while watching a favorite Tik Tok video online, or the baby is always running around in their diaper! We all have our reasons. We are all doing the best we can, and we are doing a wonderful job with the support of Management. Having empathy for each other and our customers is paramount always but even more so now.
From Business Casual to Home Comfy!
Working from home has also given rise to an interesting new wardrobe. Business casual has given way to home comfy! Function Point has rewarded teams with a “Spiff” (prize) in the past for a job well done. In previous quarters, the Spiff would have resulted in a team lunch at a favorite restaurant. This past quarter however, we paused for “food for thought” if you will. With no restaurants open and physical distancing in place, we had to be creative. How could the “Spiff” be awarded during this “New Normal”? Since we’re all working remotely, one of our team members came up with the brilliant idea of choosing something that we could purchase from a local vendor to support our community as well as to make working from home more comfortable. The result, buying cozy slippers locally to wear at home as a gift for a job well done! It felt great to support a local business owner and have something new and comfy to wear on our feet as we adapted to our new environment.
Fun-ction Point Fridays:
Function Point’s management goes the extra mile for their teams as they do for their clients. These are challenging times. But we have to remember to have fun too! Yes, FUN! It is incredibly important for moral, physical, and mental health. At Function Point, we’ve started to host “Fun-ction Point Fridays!” We actually schedule time to have fun together and meet virtually every Friday at 3:00 p.m. We have had virtual tours of aquariums, zoos, and played a variety of games. All online. It is engaging and a lot of fun though somewhat competitive! It is highly recommended. This promotes a sense of normalcy, team building, and bonding that keeps us connected. Communication with your team is key.
We have to find ways to recognize that this is new for all of us and of course, temporary. This is a collective experience and we have to choose to navigate this time the best way we can. Sometimes we will do things well, other times we will make mistakes, and when we do, we pivot, course-correct, and continue. No judgement, only continued learning. We have to give ourselves permission to not always have all the answers.
A few additional coping tips:
• Set a limit on media consumption, including social media, local or national news
• Stay active. Make sure to get enough sleep and rest. Stay hydrated and avoid excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol. Eat healthy foods when possible
• Connect with loved ones and others who may be experiencing stress about the outbreak. Talk about your feelings and enjoy conversation unrelated to the outbreak
Please do not feel you have to suffer in silence. If you choose not to reach out to someone you know, groups globally have help lines for all demographics to speak with someone who can help you during this time. There are some very empathetic and knowledgeable folks that are available for your mental and emotional support. They can also help you with resources to keep you physically safe.
We have heard some interesting and ingenious ways of how some of our customers have been adjusting to the new normal. What about you? We would love to hear how you and your team are navigating the blurred lines of home and work.