With the changes to the workplace wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, almost no one’s work life was unaffected. Although the situation continues, the changes were most significant nearly a year ago, and so we can take the time now to review and learn from those experiences to help ensure we continue to work well and consider how to apply those lessons to our future working world.
In 2018, I wrote about a hybrid model for working remotely. At that time, working from home (or WFH as we now call it) was an option, a privilege, something that could be considered but required significant changes and challenges in an environment that was almost entirely onsite and present in the office. WFH was not something that we supported, except as an occasional thing. Remote work was something only a few were enabled to do, those with key roles that required near 24/7 access to the network and positions that required a more-than-full-time level of work.
This past week, I’ve heard the following from colleagues and friends:
“I’m not accomplishing anything. What is the point of it all?”
“I’m supposed to have the day off today, but I’m attending this one important meeting. Is it okay if take the rest of the day after that?”
“I’d planned to be off last week but ended up working a few days. I can’t seem to catch up and I felt so guilty taking vacation when I’m behind on so many things.”
There were others, too, but these were the ones I remember most clearly, the most troubling to me. As I spoke with each person, and emphatically assured them of their own value and encouraged them to take some time for themselves, I was saddened again and again at the near despair of my colleagues. I also saw a bit of myself in each of them: these people who are a source of strength for others reaching the end of their own strength and needing a break.
At the same time as this was happening, I found a new-to-me blog site and blogger, with some great guidance on these topics. Here are the posts that helped me help them, and also helped myself in no small measure.
I have been teaching this year as part of the Mohawk College and CARA Research Administration Certificate program. In a discussion, I was asked by students to describe the opposite of scope creep. As I've been presenting it, scope creep means small, incremental, and uncontrolled additions to scope - these become scope change when they are recognized and accepted into the project, with the corresponding changes to time, cost, and quality to accommodate the increased scope.
So what do we call it when scope gets smaller?
I’ve started a new lunch-and-learn series, the second of which is about purposeful networking. This based primarily on my previous posts on this topic, incorporating some new ideas based on reading and reviewing my own networking approach. So far, around 100 people have attended and participated in these lunch-and-learn sessions, and the feedback has been positive. My objective is to enable others to establish for themselves a purposeful network as a lifelong resource for their career and professional development.
Who is Robyn?
My career as a research project manager is rewarding, dynamic, challenging, and fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in communication, organization, and common sense approaches in research management and leadership, and to enabling others to learn and grow in this exciting career.