COVID-19 & Starting Work at a Startup

April, 2 2020

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Professionals at different points in their careers in industries from healthcare, to finance; tech to hospitality are seeing their daily routines disrupted by government-sanctioned quarantines that have been implemented to mitigate the spread of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.  I am in the unique situation of having started a new role as Customer Success Lead at Talla, a Boston-based AI startup, only a month before Massachusetts implemented its stay at home advisory.  Although I was fortunate enough to have some runway before being forced to work remotely, I imagine that some of my experiences with onboarding are applicable to those who have taken or plan on taking up a new role in the current economic climate.

To me, the most important part of entering a new workspace is developing human connections.  Without the opportunity to collaborate on projects, shoulder-tap a teammate to ask advice, or simply socialize over lunch, I would struggle to feel at home with my new team.  Thankfully, at Talla, we have been holding video conferences multiple times per week in company-wide groups, as well as in smaller break-out sessions. From a productivity standpoint, these team check-ups provide a great place for members of the company to discuss their ongoing projects and collaborate on solutions. From a work-culture perspective, team check-ins are an opportunity to build common ground. For those who find themselves in a similar position to me, I would highly recommend leveraging the screen time you have with your teammates. This unique circumstance offers few better chances to connect with others.

In addition to staying connected and remaining efficient through the use of technology, I have learned the value of upholding a routine and prioritizing important tasks that require my undivided attention. In regards to a routine, I find that I can best mentally prepare myself for my day by behaving similarly as if I were leaving for the office.  Maintaining start and end times to my workday, along with regular morning and breakfast routines all help prime me mentally for the day ahead. Once I am ready to work, though, there are often deliverables that require my full attention and that cannot be obstructed by smaller, lower-priority tasks.  When I am in an office setting, distractions are much easier to block out. My productivity, as I am sure it is with many of you, is a function of my environment. With the constant screen time at home expectations are often for prompt responses from messages and emails. In order to allow myself the flexibility of responding to messaging throughout the day, while also being able to buckle down when necessary, I have started planning my day ahead and blocking off the time needed on my calendar to focus on my work.


Although the challenges of the COVID-19 stay at home advisories are manifesting differently for each of us, I hope my experiences can add some perspective to how technology and routine have helped me cope with our rapidly evolving remote work landscape.

Professionals at different points in their careers in industries from healthcare, to finance; tech to hospitality are seeing their daily routines disrupted by government-sanctioned quarantines that have been implemented to mitigate the spread of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.  I am in the unique situation of having started a new role as Customer Success Lead at Talla, a Boston-based AI startup, only a month before Massachusetts implemented its stay at home advisory.  Although I was fortunate enough to have some runway before being forced to work remotely, I imagine that some of my experiences with onboarding are applicable to those who have taken or plan on taking up a new role in the current economic climate.

 

To me, the most important part of entering a new workspace is developing human connections.  Without the opportunity to collaborate on projects, shoulder-tap a teammate to ask advice, or simply socialize over lunch, I would struggle to feel at home with my new team.  Thankfully, at Talla, we have been holding video conferences multiple times per week in company-wide groups, as well as in smaller break-out sessions. From a productivity standpoint, these team check-ups provide a great opportunity for members of the company to discuss their ongoing projects and collaborate on solutions. From a work-culture perspective, team check-ins provide opportunities to build common ground. For those who find themselves in a similar position, I would highly recommend leveraging the screen time you have with your teammates. This unique circumstance offers few better opportunities to connect with others.

 

In addition to staying connected and remaining efficient through the use of technology, I have learned the value of upholding a routine and prioritizing important tasks that require my undivided attention. In regards to a routine, I find that I can best mentally prepare myself for my day by behaving similarly as if I were leaving for the office.  Maintaining start and end times to my workday, along with regular morning and breakfast routines all help prime me mentally for the day ahead. Once I am ready to work, though, there are often deliverables that require my full attention and that cannot be obstructed by smaller, lower-priority tasks.  When I am in an office setting, distractions are much easier to block out. My productivity, as I am sure it is with many of you, is a function of my environment. With the constant screen time at home expectations are often for prompt responses from messages and emails. In order to allow myself the flexibility of responding to messaging throughout the day, while also being able to buckle down when necessary, I have started planning my day ahead and blocking off the time needed on my calendar to focus on my work.

 

Although the challenges of the COVID-19 stay at home advisories are manifesting differently for each of us, I hope my experiences can add some perspective to how technology and routine have helped me cope with our rapidly evolving remote work landscape.

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