Skip to main content
Back to all posts

Learnings from the first week of social distancing

March 23 2020

Kacha Azema

Reflecting back on how our Skidmore team navigated the first week of social distancing, we found that we stumbled onto a few gems that really helped us have an unexpectedly great week. We wanted to share what we’ve learned in the hopes that there are some helpful nuggets you can take with you to improve your own WFH experience.

But before we go any further, we want to make sure you’re ok. If you need help, and you don’t know where to turn, please reach out to us and we’ll find a way to give you a hand. Call 313-446-8200. We will make it through this, as long as we’re here for each other.

Stay positive!

Thank you to Drew Patrick, our president, for being a beacon of positivity during these trying times. He’s cultivated a personal spirit of optimism that you can feel in every interaction. We acknowledge that there’s a lot of uncertainty and risk swirling around us right now, but we’ve found that it crumbles when we approach these challenges with intentional optimism. Drew’s example is admirable, and we’re all trying to follow it so that any and all of our Skidmore interactions knock down fear and bring much-needed goodness into the world. 

The daily connection

Even when you’re working remotely (especially when you’re working remotely) it’s important to stay connected. At Skidmore, we’re accomplishing this with a daily, company-wide video chat called Homeroom—it lasts fifteen minutes, it’s super-easy to do, and it’s helped us maintain our relationships even when we’re not together. The format is simple: each of us shares one piece of gratitude and a 20-second reflection on the topic of the day. This simple act of getting together helps us keep our emotional connections to each other and remember that we’ve got great teammates supporting us all day long!

A few remote meeting tricks

  1. Arrive early – For meetings where we’re familiar with the tech setup, we’re arriving a couple of minutes early just to make sure everything’s working and we’re ready to be productive. For meetings where the tech setup is new—for example, using a client’s preferred video meeting platform—we’re scheduling 15 minutes of pre-meeting setup to make sure it’s all good to go.
  2. Make a Plan B – You know what’s not reliable? The internet. Since someone’s home wifi or internet connection could go out at any time, we designate a Plan B presenter who can pick up right where it left off, just in case. (We learned this one the hard way!) 

Just for fun

When social distancing kills your let’s-go-out-and-have-some-fun celebrations, look to the internet for let’s-stay-healthy-and-have-some-fun options. Late last week we all hopped on Zoom (our video chat platform), fired up our phones, and got competitive. (If you haven’t played Drawful, we highly recommend it!) The act of getting together, doing something silly, and laughing with each other was a much-appreciated boost of fun connection with friends in the middle of the week.

Vid-chatting every little thing

You know those little pop-in moments at your teammate’s desk to ask them a quick question? Yeah, we’re still doing that. We’ve just flipped it from in-person to vid-chat. It’s a really simple act that would be easy to stop doing, but it helps us all feel normal and united, so we just keep doing it.

Creativity, creativity, creativity

We can see that this crisis is a monumental, life-changing, business-shifting event. Overnight we’ve found that nothing is the same, and nothing will ever be the same. With that in mind, we’re looking at everything with fresh eyes and inventing creative new ways to approach our work every day. We’re finding that the formula of Positivity + Creativity + Togetherness is starting to be the winning combo. It’s energizing to use our creativity in unexpected and transformative ways. We certainly don’t know what the future will hold, but we’re excited to find out!

We hope that these reflections and learnings can give you a boost and perhaps spark some ideas for how you’re approaching your work during these times. We’d also love to hear what you’ve learned and how your team is navigating this new world. Hit us up by any of the digital channels and we’d be happy to chat!