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Take Care of Me

February 10, 2021 by Twan van de Kerkhof

Take care of me. That is the first thing that employees asked their leaders to do when the virus spread and it was also the first responsibility many leaders felt; primarily for their health, later on also for their jobs and their mental and emotional well-being. Companies introduced health coaches and vitality programs to encourage people to sleep well, exercise and structure their working day. Organizations also helped their people to set up their home office with better devices, chairs, connections, etc.

Finding an alternative structure for a working day has become necessary because the cut-off between office and home has disappeared. People find it harder to distinguish between work and private life when working from home. The workday blends into their personal life. Workdays, weekends and holidays are harder to distinguish. That can be an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. An advantage because the distinction can be viewed as an artificial one, only in place since the Industrial Revolution. A disadvantage because some people feel stressed because their working conditions at home aren’t ideal, or they feel lonely, or they have to juggle meetings with looking after small children. Putting structure in a day and sticking to an adjusted routine with working hours and breaks helps, as does getting offline and outdoors every now and then. Especially in global companies people are tempted to work from early in the morning (Asia) until late at night (US). They have to organize their day differently, for example by cycling from 12 to 2 or by doing old-fashioned phone calls while taking a walk.

This is the second leadership lesson drawn from 36 interviews about leadership during and beyond corona. Send us a message if you wish to receive the paper with all eight lessons.