Operating in the New Normal
If you’d have told me at the end of 2019 that within three months, the whole of Jetstack was going to be working remotely, facing one of the worst crises the world has seen for decades, I would have had a hard time believing it. But, sadly, this is the case, and as a team we are having to respond to some of the most challenging times of our lives. I’ve been discussing the situation with people from all walks of life, and I thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts on coping with the new-normal.
1) Let’s put this in perspective
I’m sad to say that there are people I know who have already lost close relatives to the virus. It’s been devastating to hear. Yes, being at home all the time might be tough, and yes, business has been hit by economic consequences, but as long as you still have your health, you will bounce back. Business will bounce back. This may not be the case for others, and we have to think first of those most badly affected by the situation.
2) What we can do to cope
Jetstack is a team of the most caring, resilient people I know. First and foremost, we have been looking after each other. I’ve been heartened to see the messages of support and assistance inside the company on our wellness channel, and instead of donating a coffee or a beer to the team for a missed stand up, we’ve been donating that money to charities helping the worst affected.
We’ve all felt less connected to each other during this time, and are focusing on regular socials, and daily lunch drop-ins to keep up spirits. People handle their isolation differently, and although having a 2 year old in the house has its disadvantages, it also has the advantage of a non-stop source of energy. So please remember to keep up the connections, and maybe spend a bit more time thinking of those who live by themselves.
3) Practical activities
To begin with, it’s important to be sensitive to suppliers and customers. Customers have seen entire business lines wiped out overnight. Some of our suppliers are smaller than us, and are more hungry for the work. Maintaining a sense of understanding in contract flexibility, payments, and delivery has gone a long way - both for us, and for our customers.
If you’re in the stronger position, or are one of the lucky ones to be unaffected by the situation, please bear that in mind when it comes to those conversations.
Next, take the help where you can. Now is not a time to be proud about getting assistance, or relying on larger partners if you need them. My wife has been personally affected by the situation, and the government support has been very helpful. I’d also like to thank Google for looking at ways to help boost virtual training campaigns, and implementing actions to ease the strain on their partners.
Finally, remember to look after yourself. Working from home in the current situation can be incredibly draining. Don’t feel guilty when you don’t feel productive, need to take a break, or look after your neighbour or friend. We’re social animals, and lack of contact is tough to cope with. There’s no point being hard on yourself, so take care of yourself.
Never has it been truer that we are all ‘in this together’, and it’s easy to get caught up dwelling on issues that affect you personally. It’s likely that if you are having problems, other people are having the same ones, if not worse than yours.
At this point it’s just important to practice a sense of understanding, and bring that to all of your conversations, externally and internally. Tough times don’t last, and let’s all work together as a collective to beat this thing.