COVID-19: A Letter to Our Team

By Erik Reagan

As we buckled up for an unprecedented global ride, I felt that as CEO I needed to keep communication high with our team. I was encouraged to share this particular letter on our website. This is my March 16th update to the Focus Lab team regarding COVID-19.

Team,

Last week was quite something. It's been surreal to watch COVID-19 make its mark across the globe. From international coverage, national declarations, state-wide news conferences, and city updates, we've had a lot of things in front of us. I wanted to take a few minutes to collect my thoughts and plans for Focus Lab so we can continue to be operating from the same playbook.

100% Distributed

As of Monday the 16th, our local Savannah crew will be working from home. In addition to some of us working from home suddenly, we will also have multiple team members working from home with children around the house. Basically, this will be many of us: Children interrupt BBC News interview.

In all seriousness, though, I want to start with a critical call to action.

Home Offiice Border

1. Now, more than ever, we need to be patient with one another and extend grace in all directions. That includes patience and grace with and for yourself.

You may find yourself or others struggling to attend our regular meetings with new things happening around us during work hours. Or perhaps meetings are fine, but it's a struggle to create the same space for deep work that we had previously. Whatever the changes and struggles, know that you have the support and encouragement of your team leaders to flex your schedule around in a way that works best for your family and your projects.

When the chance to be present to people’s thoughts and feelings arrives, we show up. And we do so with an earnest desire to meet them where they are, from a place of openness and humility.

Our Core Value, "Empathy In Action"

If you find that you need to adjust your work hours a bit, the most important thing is that you communicate this clearly to your team leader and those with whom you work closely.

If you're new to working from home, take a look at the Slab post below with some suggestions. (And add some tips if you want to share ideas with your teammates!) Not every suggestion will work for each of us. But it should be a useful resource as you adjust for the time being.

In Slab: Remote Working Tips

Our friends at Zoom also have a blog post that walks through some Zoom-specific app notes, along with some more general work-from-home tips. You can check that article out here: New to Working from Home? Here Are Some Tips to Help You Meet Like a Pro.

But tips aside—be gracious with and understanding of one another when unexpected things come up. Certain meetings may be less optimal for some time, simply due to the suddenness of these changes. I could write up all the tips in my head and on the internet and still not cover every possibility of what we might experience in working from home, so that leads me to my second call to action.

2. Adaptability will be a foundational tool throughout the coming weeks.

If there's one thing I can guarantee you for the coming weeks, it's this: There will be surprises. From changes we're making to how we work, to changes that our clients need to make, to types of change we can't anticipate. Changes will come. And we all need to have a spirit and mind of adaptability. If we don't approach each workday with the willingness to accept something new or unexpected, this will be much harder.

It's time to flex this newly developed "Yes, and" muscle!

Some Personal Suggestions

If you would permit me, there are two things I want to mention that aren't tied to Focus Lab, per se. But I believe them to be valuable and worth mentioning to the team today.

The first is about your family budget. It's yet unclear what the economic impact of COVID-19 will be on the U.S. and the globe. In this uncertainty, I think it's wise to hone in on your financial management. Spend only where you need to for a time.

The second is about protecting your health. I'm talking not just about physical health, but also emotional and mental. Your health affects your ability to care for yourself and those around you. Here are a few things worth thinking about:

  • If you typically go to a gym, but can't right now, consider some at-home exercise. Don't just let the physical activity go to the wayside. 
  • Stay Hydrated™ 😁
  • Close social media and news sources while you're working. (I share my plan for that below.)
  • Consider giving this article a read: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy During the Coronavirus Outbreak
  • Take time to breathe. If that sounds strange or new to you, I encourage you to check out your App Store for meditation apps that have useful guides for simple breathing practices.
  • Reach out to your friends and family. And I don't mean via social media, but rather a voice or video call. Stay connected emotionally while we can't all be connected physically.

Wrapping Up

We're all adjusting. We have a steady barrage of media coming our way during every moment that passes. So as we settle into our work week, work diligently to set the media to the side and be digitally present with your team, your work, and our clients. You might consider setting specific hours where you read on your state's latest updates regarding COVID-19. I plan to check around 10 am, 1:30 pm, and 4 pm, for example. 

And lastly, as cheesy as it may sound, try to stay positive. It's easy to get pulled out by the undertow of negativity. Yes, this is a negative worldwide event we're experiencing. But we can't allow that to result in us wearing negative lenses as we look at everything around us. Be cautious about how you're looking at the things around you.

Prioritize gratitude.

Prioritize moments of silence.

Prioritize being fully present with those around you.

Prioritize positivity.

There was a man who traveled to a village to speak to a wise man. He said to the wise man, "I feel like there are two dogs inside me. One dog is positive, loving, kind, and optimistic and then I have this fearful, pessimistic, angry, and negative dog and they fight all the time. I don't know who is going to win." The wise man thinks for a moment and responds, "I know who is going to win. The one you feed the most. 

So feed the positive dog."

There you have it. With each day that begins, feed the positive dog.

With Gratitude,
Erik



On behalf of everyone at Focus Lab, we wish you the best as we all navigate through the COVID-19 storm. If any of us can be of assistance to you or your business, don't hesitate to drop us a line.