Working as we do in the ski and alpine regions we have natural peaks and troughs that follow the seasons. The summer and winter seasons would be a corona virus wet dream, with constant interactions, connections a veritable sensory overload.
And then the season ends and clients, partners, colleagues melt away with the snow. Anyone who works seasons knows this sudden solitude – the current worldwide self-isolation is what we call the ‘inter-season’
After 20 years of working in this way we thought we’d share some age old wisdom, we hope you find it useful.
Its also worth saying that this blank canvas offers limitless opportunities for reinvention and renewal but can also be daunting and of course we don’t want to belittle the future financial risk of seeing no work coming in – we would never even attempt to understand your pain there nor glibly say “make the most of this it will be good for you” – it might not be.
But here goes. We hope it helps.
ROUTINE. Go to work every morning even if it’s in the next room or moving to the kitchen table, some recommend work clothes in a thing called “enclothed cognition” but we find joggers, onsies and dressing gowns also work.
There are plenty of studies out there on the ideal amount of time to work in a day/week and much of that is industry dependent, workload, ability etc – one thing we will stress is that starting work in the morning and GETTING UP AS NORMAL is definitely a healthier way forward and oversleeping can even dampen cognitive function (read Dissociable effects of self-reported daily sleep duration on high-level cognitive abilities). All that said, maybe one extra cuppa in bed won’t hurt!
Remember also a golden rule! GO OUTSIDE as soon as you can in the day. In these testing times and with limits of 1 hour for outdoor excursions this is more important than ever. Maybe your planned walk or run will be at 2pm, but we strongly advise you just to get out even if to sit on your doorstep for a 10 minute dose of lung filling open air therapy. We won’t bore you with studies here, you know it makes total sense!
In your structure BE KIND TO YOURSELF – remember that tasks take 2 x longer than you think to complete so allow twice as much time in your diary for jobs. I mean if you complete a task in half the time, well done you! Also remember when you worked in the workplace, how much commuter time have you been wasting, driving, parking, arriving, saying hello to everyone, getting settled…..
On Friday morning have a look at the following week and set your week ahead and then first thing Monday morning review again with fresh eyes; Yes you guessed it, treat the weekend as a weekend down tools and stay away from work if you can
Network. Seek out collaborations. We usually make business in the down seasons and the deliver the operations and events in the season. Normally though we are interrupting others that may have a different work flow to us. The last three weeks however have been different; setting up business meetings remotely has been relatively easy as everyone is in the same boat! We are definitely open to chat right now – so do get in touch!
On a similar vein, we are using this particular time to schedule meetings with staff, stakeholders and partners to appraise business strategies, to review the year ahead. We’re busy pushing some numbers around a P and L and revisiting that idea from last year, now the terrain has changed! You should find that you can take a bit longer over these tasks and the resulting effect is that you can do things properly and completely.
Remain flexible with your rigid time scheduling!
So well done in putting a schedule together but unless you’re one of those people who like nipple clamps and ball screws, give yourself a break! If it’s nice weather or you’re feeling energetic get out there! This is absolutely key and can’t be stressed enough. Walk the dog, play with the kids, cook a nice dinner, bake something, learn something… you’ll fit work in too if you like what you do.
Have systems for yourself and others
This is general good business practice in general but working from home and remotely from people requires self discipline and drive to work around shared documents and systems of checks and balance. Task ownership and completion systems are absolutely vital. Each campaign, needs its own critical path/project set up prior to the first meeting and then everyone needs the discipline to revisit it.
Add to that communication systems. Creating sub work groups so that everyone can really easily dial in to remote meetings or send messages within the group are absolutely vital (whether on Zoom, Messenger Whatsapp). Encourage check in meetings at the same times each week…. We still minute ours, which seems to be a dying art these days.
And lastly probably the most important…Fill the fridge with the good and just don’t buy the bad. Working from home, it can be very tempting to keep going back to the fridge. Are you one of those that’ll go back so often you’ll get a tan from the fridge light? Then Monday to Friday – the house, the fridge, the cupboards have no biscuits in them! Our advice is to buy them at the weekend for the weekend. Snacking food like carrots, apples, oranges will give a perfect sugar boost but also fill you with all that useful fiber, vitamins and anti oxidants. Do I seriously follow this kind so Shaolin discipline all the time? As a rule yes, but rules are there to be broken too, so if a colleague comes round to visit with a packet of Hob Nobs and you happen to smash a packet in one sitting just know that we’re not judging you!