As I reflect on the past year, I think back to what I was doing a year ago today. I had just finished my certification in the CoreNet Leadership 2.0 Program where I received valuable skills on leadership style and became more comfortable with public speaking through a group presentation. I attended a celebration dinner with 50 of my industry colleagues. I jumped on an airplane to visit our Atlanta office team for some business development with a large enterprise organization. Only 24 hours after that trip, I realized something was not right in the world. One week later, as an abundance of caution, Dyer Brown decided to close our newly renovated office for a week to see how this COVID-19 thing would shake out. And one year later, I am still reflecting on our new normal from my dining room table.
I am a working mom of two teenagers. Although I am thankful they are self-sufficient when it comes to their schooling needs, I see them struggling through the social and emotional impacts of this pandemic: the lack of seeing friends, not being able to leave the house, the feeling that “choice” has been stripped away during a time they are supposed to be pushing the boundaries and learning from those decisions. Wholeheartedly, I too am feeling these same impacts. Like most working parents in our industry, I am experiencing the blurred lines and boundaries of work and home, putting in long, synchronous and asynchronous hours, all the while, worrying about the health and well-being of our workforce.
So... when will we find the work/life balance again? What will make us feel comfortable moving freely from place to place? How will we get choice back?
The future of choice, well-being, and mobility will return. We have learned so much about human behavior while working remote, and we have learned that there is a way to create an integrated user experience through digital tools and technologies to feel safe, secure, and connected. Human behavior is about anticipation and adaptation.
As I look to the future of being back in our beautiful office more frequently – over the next three months, six months, one year from now – I know that I will be safe by choosing where I want to sit to complete my various tasks because we were forward-thinking to create a variety of work settings for people to come back to. I look forward to signing out the four-person conference room for a private new client pitch, and the large open office collaboration area to innovate with my colleagues on our next big project, and to reserving a speakeasy-inspired room for a midday recharge.
This is not over yet, but we will persevere, and our industry will be stronger than it was before. And as working parents, we will demonstrate to our children that our resiliency is becoming stronger and we are more compassionate human beings. Here’s to the day I can invite you all to sit around our centralize hub space “Emerald” for an afternoon cocktail. Meet you all there. Cheers.