The WFH Diaries - To the leaders and managers out there, can you help?

By AdNews | 7 April 2020
Claire Gallagher

AdNews brings the stories of those working from home (WFH) in the advertising and media industry during the coronavirus crisis.

Claire Gallagher, internal brand director at the Principals:

Dear WFH Diary:

I’m struggling. This last week of remote working has been really tough. 

When I first started work, a long time ago, there were no mobile phones. I used an A4 desk top diary, note books, microfiche and video tapes. Yes, I even had a filo fax. I was organised.

As a working mum, in London and, for the past 15 years, in Sydney, I needed to be.

And, I’ve moved with the times. I now have Outlook, I get emails on my phone and I’m a grey shadow person on Facebook. I managed to set up a LinkedIn profile (twice!) but at heart, I’m best face-to-face. I (really) enjoy a chat, I love being part of a team, and I work best when I’m with others. So this last week of remote working has been tough.

I’m overwhelmed with the number of articles about all things Covid19. Can’t keep up with the insights and advice about how we need to adjust. I’m not sure I can handle any more talking dog videos, memes or jokes. Without the discipline of a day in the office I’m feeling a little lost. (Not to mention I’m home with my stressed husband and three teenagers.)

So, to all the leaders and managers out there, can you help?

I need three things:

Make time to communicate – every day. Out of sight should not feel like I’m out of mind. In the world of remote working you need to reach out and connect with the team and with individuals – send updates about work, acknowledge messages, answer questions, say thanks. Keep if brief but keep it frequent. Let me know that my opinion counts and what I am doing actually matters.

Be decisive and positive. Things are changing, daily and it’s hard to keep up. We’re all worried about our lives and livelihoods and adjusting to new routines. This is new for us all we don’t expect perfection, just a clear direction. Please explain your decisions, set expectations and be honest about what you know and what you don’t know. And if at all possible, talk about the light on the hill, what we can hope to achieve if we pull together.

Show you care. Now more than ever we need to feel supported, that we matter. Be compassionate, show empathy, think about the person – not the role – and how they may be feeling. What’s happening in their lives, who’s at home, how are they coping? When you can thank people, praise and encourage them but most importantly, show you care.

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