06 maj Lessons Learned
How the Corona-virus shut down has affected my work
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A complete stand-still
On 10th March, I had a group of people doing a two-day negotiation workshop with me. We were having fun, the group knew each other well, and these were to be the final days of a year-long course with everyone excited to be almost ‘graduated’. Lunchtime on day one, the organizer pulled me aside and told me, that the organization she works for had decided to cancel day two because of the Corona virus. To everyone’s shock and disbelief, that really was it – everything shut down completely. We all went home feeling rather dejected and disappointed, but this was only the beginning of a rapid and radical change of the way I work, when almost everything got cancelled or postponed in the space of a few days.
“To everyone’s shock and disbelief, that really was it – everything shut down completely”
Three areas of concern
For me, the challenges and worries that the Corona virus shut-down has given rise to, fall into three categories; Financially it’s a pretty serious situation and socially, it has been and will be hard to do without constantly meeting new people and the interaction, feedback and great stories I hear from workshop participants. And last but not least, on a fundamental level, I have questioned whether what I do matters, and will anyone even miss it? A friend of mine had a series of high-level conferences she was in charge of cancelled. Her initial thought was, that doing without these sessions did not seem to bother anyone around her, so was this an indication of the value of her work? The present crisis has made me and many others think long and hard about the necessity of our work, and because I love what I do, these thoughts have not always been easy. However, my conclusion is, that what definitely needs to change is the format I work in, rather than the essence of what I do, because the relevance of learning about negotiation and how to use it as an essential skill in our working lives is greater than ever.
“On a fundamental level, I have questioned whether what I do even matters, as it has been so ‘easy’ to simply cancel everything”
Changes can – and should – be negotiated
So much will have to change and particularly now, when we have to create new ways of working together, discovering our own needs as well as accommodating other people’s wishes and wants. Now is the time when we need to use all our negotiation skills, both at work and at home. This could be the golden opportunity to negotiate a much-needed change in the way we organize our work and what our focus should be. One woman told me how working three days from home and two at the office is so fantastic, that she will do her utmost to negotiate a new framework for her job that will include this change. All the challenges and new restrictions we face could be the excuse for doing a full-scale inventory of our working lives and find out, what we would like to do differently. So, the present situation has made me even more determined to build a platform for women, sharing their concerns and advice but also their specific negotiated solutions for a corona-adapted future.
“This could be the golden opportunity to negotiate a much-needed change in the way we organize our work or what our focus should be”
I still find myself worrying at times, but new routines have developed. For the first time in over 20 years, I can commit to these routines without having to constantly fit them around a travel- and teaching schedule. So, my trainers have been dusted off and I have persuaded my 16-year old chronically teenage-exhausted and currently home-schooled niece into running with her aunt every morning – an unexpected joy and a really positive consequence of this ‘new normal’.