This is hard for me to believe, but it’s been more than five months since we closed the Idaho Nonprofit Center office and started working remotely. At the time when we packed up all our things, none of us could envision that we would still be working from home all these many months later.
We had such high hopes in June that we could execute Stage 4 of our internal return to work policy, but as we all know COVID case counts continued to climb and here in Ada County we’ve been rolled back to Stage 3 with additional restrictions (that look a lot more like Stage 2).
It became clear to our leadership team that things are not going to change anytime soon. One of the things I do as intentionally as I can is to loop in senior staff on bigger picture decisions for the Center, and this seemed like an opportunity to consult with my newly promoted team leaders.
Making Decisions when Future is Unclear
One of the most challenging aspects of decision making in times of COVID is the sheer ambiguity of it all. We literally have no idea what next week, let alone next month or next quarter will look like. We’re all learning about scenario planning and how that brings tremendous benefits to our organizations but sometimes even scenario planning can’t account for every scenario. So we have to shift to a different mindset, think strategically, and use current information and data to make long term decisions when the future cannot be predicted.
On our call, the team (Evin and Kim) and I discussed our current work from home situation. I wanted to ensure that all staff members felt they had the resources they needed long term at their home office, ensure that working from home long term was feasible given all their other priorities, and that they felt connected to the team and their manager.
Together we created this work from home culture survey and asked some really brief questions to get at the heart of how we’re all doing and if we need to create more flexibility in our working environments.
The data we collected was incredibly helpful to not only me, but my senior staff who have team members that they manage. We learned:
What our team did together was review the results and shift our “return to work” policy to a new “health and safety” policy for our office. We retained some of the staged approach to returning to the office in case it’s needed, but we made some good decisions about supporting our crew long term in a remote situation.
Now I feel more confident that my team is doing well. I personally feel a little more connected to them and am proud that we took input from all team members to build a policy that still addresses our current COVID world but creates more flexibility for everyone.
I am also thankful to have had my senior staff involved in building the policy. I hope that the exercise was valuable to them as well. I will continue to loop them in on big picture conversations. Sometimes it’s a little lonely at the top, so I appreciate having them involved from a leadership development standpoint, but also because it’s always helpful to have more input when making big decisions.
More Healthy Resources
On another note, if your nonprofit team has not been able to work remotely and you are seeking information and advice on what to do, I highly suggest checking out your regional health district website and also the Idaho Rebounds website where there are resources for businesses. Chances are the information you need can be found on those sites. Your county and city pages also will have guidance for your operations. They are the best resources for your organization if you’re operational and not remote.
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