Updated: Aug 22, 2021
The search for the right desk began in late June 2020. To fit into the space, the desk had to be small and sleek, and provide ergonomic support my wrists. Finding such a desk became a real challenge.
The first thought that came to mind was to check with that popular online supplier, and to my amazement, there was nothing in their inventory that matched what I was looking for. Being a stickler for aesthetics, I decided that the color of the desk had to be dark to complement the teal walls and grey curtains, and everything I was seeing was bulky and mostly light brown.
After a few days, I decided to explore local options and began searching the websites of two locals furniture stores. The first store had similar to those I already rejected, but I hit pay dirt with the second store. The desk was small and black (my favorite color for the space), and had a glass top. Best of all, it had a pull out space below for the keyboard, which meant relief for my wrists.
The desk was delivered three days later and within a week of using it, the pain in my wrists began to dissipate and my mindset also improved. It is amazing how having the right work space and equipment can improve one's work mood. In the mornings, I felt more prepared for work, and I no longer missed my patio space. That small desk enhanced my overall outlook and productivity.
On March 9, 2021, I had completed the first of twenty "one-hour coaching sessions" scheduled with three managers of an international bank with branches in Jamaica. The plan was to meet once per week with each manager on their respective coaching day, Monday's Wednesday's and Fridays from 5:15 - 6:15 pm. Prior to the pandemic, the plan was to culminate with a one day workshop where all three managers would present their learnings to their respective leaders and participate in a learning and sharing exercise.
Now that the pandemic had disrupted the aforementioned plan, I needed a plan B, and understanding the urgency and importance of the coaching program for those managers, on March 10, 2020, I submitted a counter plan to complete the coaching and it was accepted.
What did I Propose?
The face to face meetings and workshop would be replaced with:
Face to Face Coaching using WhatsApp Video Calls
Each candidate would received two extra sessions and one group session with their leaders to present their learnings and personal development plans.
Flexibility would be built into the new plan to facilitate the candidates with young children at home.
In the end, the flexibility built into the plan was great for everyone, including me. Instead of only a fifteen minutes between the time I finish my regular job and coaching, I now had as much as ninety minutes before beginning my coaching assignment. Two of the candidates also opted to be coached from the comfort and safety of home. The Friday candidate asked that her time be switched to 7:00 - 8:00am, which also worked well for both of us.
Coaching leaders during the onset of the pandemic also challenged me to think deeper and wider about possible solutions to the many issues my coaching candidates were facing on a daily basis. The level of empathy and agility required was sometimes overwhelming for them.
For each session, I had to prepare to answer questions and make suggestions on for example, how to formulate and maintain a hybrid approach that supports vulnerable employees as well as protect healthy employees who were terrified of interfacing with the public.
A key learning from COVID-19 is that the one size fits all approach is no longer relevant. Each employee's situation is different, so the challenge for leaders, is how to appropriately respond when the changes and challenges are happening so fast!
Stay tuned for the continuation of my journey with COVID-19...