THE PANDEMIC FORCED THIS FOUNDER TO SLOW DOWN SO HE COULD ACCELERATE LONG-TERM GROWTH

I was staring out at a sea—or should I say a grid—of blank faces. It was the town hall portion of our weekly all-company meeting, and an employee asked me directly how long I thought this work-from-home arrangement would last. I gave my unfiltered opinion: I did not see a return to life as we knew it for a couple of years (if ever). I had made a concerted effort to keep spirits high and energy positive in our weekly all-company Zoom calls, but it felt like despite all the positive momentum generated from previous responses to the crisis, with that one revelation, I had just killed the mood of the entire team. As an entrepreneur, working around the clock with the team to save the company was in my blood. Those long days and weeks in March, April, May, and June came naturally to me and to many of my team members who had self-selected to work at a startup. What’s been more challenging is determining how to navigate the transition to this next phase—where working from home is the norm rather than a novelty. In a world where everyday feels like Groundhog Day, and weekends aren’t much different than weekdays, I’m trying my best to provide as much certainty as I can for the team and placing a renewed emphasis on making sure priorities for my direct reports are clear and manageable, and that we expend energy on solving the right problems. We spent a few months building the plane while we were flying it and now it’s time to go back and write the manual. Encouraging employees to work at a more manageable pace (and dismantling the culture of stress and burnout) starts with just talking about it openly. We all have a chance to reset the stage and make work better for our teammates—more flexible, accommodating, and accepting of employees’ full selves and personal lives, including crying babies, screaming kids, and barking dogs. I want to be mindful about preserving the best parts to set us up for future success.  Read More >>

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