Now, more than ever, we’re living in a VUCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Thomas Friedman promotes the idea of 'dynamic stability' – where you only get a sense of stability by moving forward, like the balance you get by pedaling a bike.
New Habits: Remote-Work Pre-covery and Recovery
The pandemic drove companies to close shared office spaces and enable employees to work from home. Every day, workers sit down at their dining tables, sofas, or bedroom corners to get the work done. Now companies are seeing the negative health impact of long term remote work and the need for ergonomic workspaces for physical health.
A friend of mine just received a fancy office chair at her home. She excitedly set it up at her usual spot at the dining table. In the middle of her next Zoom meeting, she noticed she had to stretch her arms out to reach the keyboard. This fancy, new, ergonomic office chair on wheels had ever-so-slowly rolled backwards, away from the table. This was an interesting discovery: her house had settled over decades and the dining room floor was no longer level.
I suggested she get some ergo chair “wheel chocks” to stop the roll. You know, the blocks they put around aircraft wheels for safety, to keep the plane from shifting while parked at the jetbridge.
Our conversation also made me think about mental health during this remote-work time. We can slowly roll into poor habits that impact our mental state and our output. Are you putting some “wheel chocks” around your meetings so you can show up at your best each time?
For my most important meetings each week, I schedule 15 minute pre-covery and recovery meetings with myself. Precovery gives me time to clear my mind, take a bathroom break, move my body, or grab a healthy snack – like apple and peanut butter or nuts and cheese – to make sure I can give my full attention to the important meeting. It also gives me space to set my intention – how will I show up in this meeting? What questions can I anticipate being asked? What questions should I ask? Recovery gives me the time to take a breath and reflect on my ‘performance.’ Did I meet my intention? If not, what got in the way? Is there something I would do differently next time? If I’ve committed to an action, should I delegate? To whom? If not, I put time on my calendar to finish the task, or send a meeting invitation or message to people who can help. Again, it’s an opportunity for me to get up and move my body.
These mental “wheel chocks” of pre-covery and recovery help me stay focused when I need to be at my peak performance.