I know you are tired of hearing this, but these are unusual times. On a normal weekday, each member of our team at ACUMEN Corporation gets up in the morning and heads out to one of two places, either our offices in Richmond or in the Carolinas or to one of our clients somewhere in North America. With the health crisis now controlling our workdays, often our destination is our home office located off of the family room or in some cases even the kitchen table. Instead of chatting with colleagues about the new client at the coffee machine, we have adapted to trying to understand how to keep the kids busy or what the dog is asking us to do. In my case, my pups simply want to know why the heck I’m even home.
Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that we are a fortunate company. With the technology available to us we are able to continue serving most of our clients remotely. That said, I think I speak for my entire team when I say we miss the face to face contact. We miss being at client sites with the inventory manager walking around the warehouse discussing A, B, and C level items and how we should handle distribution and replenishment. We miss sitting with the CFO at the client company and reviewing reporting needs and the calculation of KPIs.
Sure, there are facilities to talk face to face via the internet, but I find that most people just don’t use that technology very often. Maybe it’s because one of the advantages of working at home is that you don’t have to look your best. I just got my first haircut in a month. It had gotten so long it reminded me of my college days. But I digress.
Last week I set up a GoToMeeting so that everyone on my core team could review accomplishments for the week and discuss plans for the next several days. Each participant had prepared detailed reports about work plans and progress on key projects. It was a good-spirited meeting. I was pleased with the dialogue and how enthusiastically the team interacted. The meeting was certainly beneficial from a business standpoint but there was more to it than just the routine reporting that usually occurs at the office. It was also about the interaction with folks whom you have come to respect and care about. It was good to simply hear their voices so that we could each be certain our colleagues were alive and well. There was some joking and teasing as would normally be the case during our weekly meetings at the head office in Richmond. Frankly, it just felt good.
I mention all of this because there are pros and cons to this isolation. I very much enjoy spending more time with family but at the same time miss the dynamics of the office. I have promised myself to draw as much positive out of this experience as I can.
Never have the words “we’re all in this together” been more true.