How Are You?

It’s the first of April here in Western New York where I live. The sun is shining, days are getting a little longer, and the trees are budding. It would be a lovely Spring if not for this horrible Coronavirus. While we can still go outside to enjoy nature, we can’t congregate with friends and family that are so much more beautiful than any tree or flower. That can depress us more than any gloomy, winter day. I am grateful for the video calls I have with so many wonderful people that I only see a fraction as much as I wish. That’s a silver lining.

For the past month I have found myself dispensing practical advice to those who are working from home for the first time. I can do this because I have worked remotely for the past 10 years and many times before that. Setting up separate spaces, learning to budget time differently, and techniques for managing remote teams is all in my wheelhouse. My colleague, Hyoun Park, has a series of blogs about remote work up on the Amalgam Insights website. He also had a lot of experience with working from home. There’s a lot of good stuff there.

Of course, self-care is a unique part of working from home during a pandemic. The emotions are different than when you do so by choice. All the jokes about working in pajamas (most of is remote work veterans do not do that) wear thin. It’s natural to feel a sense of loss and disruption of identity when you are used to going to an office full of people. It’s lonely. Even for us remote work types, these are sad and frightening times.

So, there is something more important we can do. More important than having the right video software or camera. Infinitely more crucial than learning how to reduce the amount of Slack disruptions. We can ask each other “How are you?” I have had so many people ask me that over the past month. It warms my heart to hear that phrase. It recognizes that these are not normal times. It provides the human element to our interactions. A simple phrase, “how are you?”, lets us know that we are still connected, that business isn’t everything, and our individual lives are still important.

So, “how are you?”

If you want to DM me or respond in Twitter, public or private message in LinkedIn, or send me an email, feel free. I want to know. Even if you don’t want to, can’t, or are simply uncomfortable with reaching out, remember this – you are not alone. You are never alone. How you are matters.