As we move deeper into the summer season, I’m again reflecting on what we endured – and learned – during the pandemic year last year. Equal to the work and design challenges we confronted, we all made major changes to personal and family routines. Many of us learned, starting almost from scratch, what the words “work-life balance” really mean.
As we emerge from the pandemic and see an increasingly optimistic future close ahead, we still have work to do. As our clients and colleagues report, we need to continue to focus on work-life balance. Yet something is easier this time: I think that the various tools we acquired during the darkest, most difficult pandemic days now make work-life balance ever more achievable.
As I’ve reflected on the sacrifices, I’ve also seen new skills and mindsets arise. Even my teenagers discovered — through the craziest school year they’ll ever have — how to push themselves through chemistry lab assignments from their virtual bedroom “lab.” They experienced sitting in nearly empty school rooms while other students were seen through a Google Classroom video call. By the end of the school year, they rediscovered how to stand and deliver — presenting in front of their classmates for what felt like the first time.
Through their eyes, I’ve become more intimate with the power of resiliency.
Their pandemic school challenges mirrored my own pandemic work experience. Through my computer screen, I learned to mentor junior staff in a new way. We became experts at presenting design ideas along with finishes and materials — in ways that closely connected with our client organizations — all through Zoom and Teams video-conference platforms.
Nurturing adaptability is important for professional and personal growth. Dyer Brown has always been a company open and accepting of a flexible work-from-anywhere schedule, which expanded throughout the last 17 months. I think our agility and adaptability gave us an edge, and an island of calm, during the Covid-19 chaos.
As the pandemic fog clears, we’re seeing a way forward. Among the other exigencies of the next phase, we’re hearing how organizations are compelled to embrace the continuation of work-life balance. Over the last year-plus, we’ve gained considerably in the health-and-wellness arena to reduce undue stress. In my case, for example, shutting down the computer an hour early to watch a high school baseball game and eat dinner together as a family has immense salutary benefits. It rejuvenates my mind and readies me for tomorrow’s to-do list.
Dyer Brown isn’t the only company that’s paved an effective path forward. I’m proud to be among those organizations that can self-reflect, see the big picture, and recognize everyone as not only employees but also as members of a unique family.
I’ll offer congratulations to all the others. Especially the working parents, students, interns and supporting casts who have worked tirelessly over the last 459 days to keep the work and home machines chugging efficiently. It was no small feat, and it’s something that can (and should) be a source of new wisdom — and pride.
Here’s to celebrating our achievements together, in person, in the months to come!