Socially Distant or Distantly Social?

I’m about one week into this work-from-home gig and I’m happy to report that I’m still employed, my three kids are still alive and my wife and I are still speaking. That’s about all we can hope for these days, isn’t it?

Social distancing has become our new favorite catchphrase, but I have to be honest, I’ve not seen much of it in the business world. Sure, we’re at home with our families, counting toilet paper rolls and planning out grocery store runs, but my colleagues and I are anything but distant. I’ve seen impressive engagement from our internal teams and our clients over the last week, and it gives me hope that anything is possible, even in the most uncertain times.

Here are my lessons learned after one week of remote working with both my Televerde and Napierski teams.


Compromise, compromise, compromise.

If you don’t live by yourself, I imagine you’ve learned this one too. Making our new work-from-home work is only possible with a lot of compromise. At my house, we’re competing for literal space (there’s a doll house behind my desk) and attention at all times. Last week I hung up on a video call only to be confronted with my four-year-old who desperately needed to show me her newest makeup look. Was this the emergency I had told her was necessary in order to enter daddy’s office? No. But in her mind, yes.

I’ve invaded her space. This is not her normal, but she’s thrilled to have me at home. She’s blissfully unaware of the changes and challenges that adults are stressing over, and it serves me well to remind myself of this. So, when you’re confronted with a fashion show, a booger, or an impromptu concert, try to live in the moment and enjoy the break in your workday.


The term “business as usual” needs to go.

I keep hearing companies assure everyone that they’re “operating business as usual.” I’ve even used this term with my team and clients. But honestly, this is anything but usual. We’ve all been flipped on our heads and while B2B companies are taking a lesser hit than many brick and mortar B2C stores, we’re still trying to make sense of what has happened and what is yet to come.

I’m thrilled that we’re still able to effectively connect with our customers and our colleagues, but I’ve noticed this isn’t like working from home on a Friday afternoon. On my video chats both internally and externally we’re all kicking butt to get things done in ball caps and workout clothes. It’s great to see that business professionals are bringing some levity to the circumstances and business casual has taken on a new meaning. Maybe it’s survival mode, maybe it’s lack of sleep, but whatever the reason, I’m here for the hats (and sometimes the wigs).


It helps if you’re grounded in purpose.

Our Televerde business model is unique in that we provide sales training, education, and jobs for incarcerated women both while in prison and after they are released, helping them find their voice and reach their human potential. About 70 percent of our workforce is incarcerated, so our mission touches each of us and we’re always empowered to do our best, even when the circumstances aren’t ideal.

What I’ve seen in the last week from my colleagues is our passion to excel because of our mission. Failure is not an option for us because there are too many women who are counting on Televerde to succeed. When you have this kind of momentum behind you, it makes dealing with stress and uncertainty a bit easier. I’ve found it helps at home too.

On the home front, we’ve made sure (and by we, I mean my rock star wife) that my kids know their purpose too. Our family’s purpose is to pull through this time of self-imposed quarantine stronger as a unit than when we began. We thrive on schedules, so keeping my three kids engaged in learning while their schools are closed is serving them well. Doing all of this while trying to keep the noise level at a minimum because dad is on a conference call takes some finesse. My wife is the real MVP in all of this.

I think most of all, I’m pretty proud of both my teams, Televerde and Napierski. We’re weathering and navigating these storms as best we can and we’re mostly coming out on top. Let’s all commit to doing the best we can and to asking for help when we need it. I think teams, both corporate and the family variety, have already learned that we’re stronger together, even if together means we’re six feet apart.

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