How I learned to stop worrying and love the pandemic

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April 14th, 2020, posted in #forfounders, #ourpeople
by Iulia

 

I know that everyone talks about Covid-19 and the stressful situation this pandemic brought. Well, I am a bit late in the advice game, but here are my two cents on the changes during the coronavirus remote work thing. All based on what our company has experienced so far.

 

Source: unsplash.com

 

We are a software development company and we are aware that our industry is a privileged one, as we can do our job anywhere, as long as we have a computer and internet connection. “Work from home” is something that we've already done, but it’s starting to become too much. frown

 

The department that is experiencing disruptions in the daily routine is HR. I am the HR Project Manager and my responsibilities are more than posting jobs, participating in interviews and giving feedback to the candidates.

 

So, what changed?

Source: Facebook

 

Some of my activities disappeared (e.g.: office management), and some of them were reduced considerably (e.g.: accounting, even recruiting). I had to adjust on the fly and take important insights from my coworkers. Also, I reached out to my professional network in order to see how others in my position managed this situation.

 

Here’s what I found other companies were struggling with:

  • At the beginning of the crisis the recruiting ground to a halt;
  • The Legal burden increased a lot (tons of paperwork, tons of new rules);
  • Office management – extinct;
  • Payroll & Admin activities – as usual (for the luckiest of us);
  • Reduced activities for some people that led to termination (worst case).

 

I was surprised to see that almost no one mentioned the difficulties in keeping employees engaged, productive, as I find this quite a challenging job to do, as well as having a “healthy” talk with a candidate. I like talking to people, look them in the eyes, feel their vibe (I know, HR cheesy stuff). I find it quite difficult to keep the communication only via video chats. It is so impersonal and it deprives me of following my gut. angel But, oh well, new pandemic, new rules. I had to adapt myself to the situation and get the best out of it.

 

Another important milestone would be the employees’ mental health. It is hard for everybody to #stayhome so many weeks. As an HR person (People’s person) you have to know how to help them, you have to know if they are happy with their work, you have to be there for them, as you are their partner.

 

What I did when everyone seemed so far away?

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Idea no. 1: Keep your employees engaged. Throw an online drinking party.

Back in the good old days in the office, we used to organize a monthly meeting in order to discuss our projects, development plans, informal meetings (outside the organization) etc. What’s to be done when everyone has to stay in his/her own house? Write a friendly message to all inviting them to grab a glass of anything they had in the house, tell them to dress up nicely (at least the upper part of the body) and you have yourself an online drinking party.

 

Idea no. 2: Keep the company’s values vivid. Get your game up!

Since we haven’t been in the office for quite some time, we thought to empower two of our values: friendliness and teamwork. That being said, we organized an online game session (should have been a strategic game session, but we ended up in playing a shooting one – no one was hurt).

 

Idea no. 3: Keep your employees mentally healthy. Challenge your teammates!

I watched a LinkedIn course about time management when working from home. Apart from all the practical things to do, I kept in mind this one: you need to have a transition between waking up and getting to work, as well from doing your work and ending it. So, I thought of a challenge for my teammates: they should post a joke, a mind blowing fact, a short inspirational movie, or whatever they want to share, everyday, at 6:00 PM, in order to distress ourselves and enjoy the evening. I called this #challenge “the 6th element”. I started it and you can see my “element” here.

 

Idea no. 4 – this one concerns me personally: I’ve always thought that no one is indispensable, but worth trying. I have to confess that I was a bit frightened by the thought of not having what to do and how to justify my paycheck. You have to fight your fears, so I asked for help. I stepped out of my comfort zone and I embraced some non-HR activities like: writing (as I have a Major in Journalism) and UI design (harder than you think). Besides my HR responsibilities, I gained some experience in Figma and I am proudly working on a makeover of our Careers’ page. As for the writing…well…you can see the result. wink

 

I encourage you to experiment these days, as you have plenty of time to do so.  Learn a new language, start practicing Yoga (good for your mental and physical health), learn how to edit photos, videos, audio files. I am sure you’ll find new hobbies or inspiration for future projects in your company.

 

P.S: I won’t ever complain about not working from home more. Cross my heart!

P.S. 2: It is something good in this critical situation: the planet is recovering. angel

 

Source: unsplash.com


About the author

Iulia

Food, volleyball and tennis lover (quite a combination). I am passionate about people and behaviors, more into observing them, so I chose a career in Human Resources. I am not a very techy person, but I enjoy being around them, as I have so much to learn.

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