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Monday, March 16, 2020

WFH Update, March 2020: Coronapocalype Edition

Well friends.... wow. As we all crawl, struggle, panic, prep and persevere through this #coronapocalypse, I find myself straining to maintain some level of normalcy, while at the same time recognizing that we are all living in an incredibly unique moment in world history. Some of us are sheltering in place and the rest of us are doing our best to practice social distancing (two words I'd never paired together until a week ago...). In the midst of so many unknowns, at least we can seek each other out for support and friendship.

So here are some things I've been reading and reflecting on...

Working from home? 7 smart tips to help you get more done. Believe it or not, I have worked from home since 1995. In other words, I have some practice at this remote working thing. There are lots of articles flying around that pretend to offer input on this, but this article has some VALID tips on how to work remotely if this is new for you. I have already had a few clients send this along to all of their employees. AND... here are some simple but useful reminders on how to best run a virtual meetingAs someone who does roughly 2/3 of her work virtually, I can verify that these are excellent tips. I would only expand on tip #3, "Test the technology ahead of time": I recommend signing on with someone ten minutes early to confirm the technology (audio/video, wifi bandwidth, screen-sharing capabilities, etc), and I HIGHLY recommend that people use headsets with boom mics, especially for multi-person meetings. You can hear each person more clearly with headsets, and you cut down on ambient noise with a boom mic. My own headset cost $18, including tax #notdifficult

On Twitter @julesforrest: "Can we do a WFH workspace setup thread, unglamorous edition? My partner and I are both working from our studio apartment. My setup is a chair in front of the front door and my desk is our clothes hamper." I don't know Jules, but my heavens this threads KILLS me. I prescribe a 5-minute break every hour you work from home to refresh this thread and see the various WFH hacks that people are rigging up (which includes the cute little pupper in the photo). And should you want/need more funny memes on working from home, go hereNew favorite hashtag of mine: #wfh 

"Real Leaders" podcast series on HBR IdeaCast. This is 4 episodes, and episode 1 is about one of my absolute heroes, Sir Ernest Shackelton, Antarctic explorer. Episode 2 is about Rachel Carson, a key pioneer in the environmental movement. DO NOT MISS THESE! They are equal parts inspiration, motivation and tremendous storytelling.

How Corporate Cultures Differ Around the World. Just today I had a fantastic conversation with a client in Bangkok about whether they "claim" or "grant" leadership in their culture. Obviously, this is one consideration among many as we engage in global work across cultures. I appreciate this article not only because of the subject matter, but also because it takes a global (AKA, not US-centric) perspective (which is um, more pertinent than ever in light of this global pandemic). One of my growing interests is in the dynamics of leadership development interculturally, as I noted in my December 2019 post regarding Erin Meyers' book The Culture Map. This article is an excellent "Part Two" to that post.

The Difference Between Leadership and Influence. In the same vein, I liked this reflection because it also explores the concept (as opposed to the methods) of leadership. It is concise, but thought-provoking. It would provide a great discussion starter at an executive team meeting or retreat. Here's a teaser: "You can influence without being a leader, and you can lead without influencing, but you can’t be a good leader without influencing."

Final Thoughts...
Stephen Colbert on Twitter, March 11, right before coronavirus was declared a pandemic: 

"What I wouldn't give for a dull moment."

OK, maybe one more photo from that WFH Twitter feed...

Feel free to pass this post to friends, and reach out to me with questions and feedback. Heck, if you've got time, let's schedule a video call! Contact me at And don't forget my resources at Keep calm and use hand sanitizer.

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