As we enter another month of our new normal, Casey Ziegler has some thoughts on March and the ups and downs of navigating business and social isolation. Keep reading to hear what one of our fearless leaders has to say about lessons from the home office!

 

See ya March 2020. I have had my fill, and am ready to take my chances with a new month.

The week of March 9th seems like a long time ago all of a sudden. The last days of “normal”, at the annual Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities conference visiting with clients, coming and going as I pleased. Excited to watch my kids play some playoff hockey.  Then things got very real at every level.  As someone worried about the well being of everyone in my family, in my community and as it turns out, the world. As a business owner. As someone who relies on the oil and gas industry to feed my kids. Good news has been hard to find, but as we settle into the new “normal” for the next little while it’s more important that ever to look for some positives. So as I tap away in the basement office listening for the telltale sounds of the morning routine starting upstairs, what have I learned so far?

Well, for starters  I have learned just how incredible our team really is. Working from home is not easy, especially for working moms and dads whose kids can’t go to school. Makeshift home offices, continual technical glitches, Zoom calls for project meetings all jammed together with the real life stuff going on in the background. (Dad, where is the remote???). But if you want to find out just how engaged your team is, drop a worldwide pandemic on them. And suddenly you learn who has the ability to “roll with it”, who is committed to still providing top-notch service to clients despite everything going on around them. You start getting emails at 7:30 in the morning and 8:30 at night because that’s the window to get something done. I’ve learned we have a team that is committed to doing what it takes to make sure we are still here when normal returns. It’s been incredible.

I learned my kids are super smart. (Obviously, get their brains from their mother). Helping with spelling, reading and math have been an eye-opener. I haven’t don’t long division for 35 years, and most times I don’t know who is teaching who. I’ve learned that when life slows down a bit, I learn a little bit about each of them every day.

I learned I can hold cash in my pocket for a longer time frame than expected. I have had $60 in my wallet for almost two weeks. This is obviously not how I wanted to get a sudden reminder in simple economics, but living life at a 1000 miles an hour burns up $60 bucks pretty quick. Maybe sometimes simpler is better.

I learned that friends are something to be taken for granted.  I didn’t see how fortunate I was to be able to go have a beer (and then maybe a rum) with good friends.

I learned how fragile Canada is being so dependent on foreign countries to produce many of our essentials of life. We need to learn to demand Canadian made, and how to bear the cost of looking after ourselves by producing more of our own food, energy, critical drugs and medical supplies. Because there will be more challenges in the future, long after this latest one has passed.

And I learned (been reminded) as an entrepreneur, as a  business owner, just when you think you might have something figured out, you really don’t. Times like these take me right back to the starting line, 10 years ago where existence was a day to day battle. But like they say, desperation breeds innovation. We will find a way, we always have and always will. History has taught us that. And the learning will continue.

(Home office pic courtesy of Administrator extraordinaire Jenny Ward, because mine was slightly less “organized”!