WFH.  Until a few weeks ago, no one knew what WFH meant and now it’s an acronym we are all familiar with.  How does someone suddenly go from a desk in an office to working from home, cut off from your social world of interacting with executives and vendors and suppliers and co-workers?  Within a few days our world as we knew it became a complete unknown for many of us. So many people work for organizations that require you to physically show up at a desk in a designated location day in and day out.  I’m not bashing the concept; for the most part it has worked well for many years.  

Often I ask customers and hotel sales managers if they work from home; most do not.  Many companies were not in favor of providing or promoting a work from home office until now.

For twenty nine years I have worked from home running a meeting planning business.  I can’t imagine how it must feel to everyone who worked in an office, large or small, to have come to a screeching halt and within days you found yourself isolated from the people you physically interact with daily.

When my company grew and I needed help, I came across an amazing book called Work & Rewards In The Virtual Workplace by N. Fredric Crandall & Marc J. Wallace, Jr.  The premise of the book is this: hard working, dedicated employees work hard no matter where they sit.  Idlers are the foe of organizations and will slack off regardless of where they sit. Trust and performance of job responsibilities are an organization’s best tools to judge the merit of their team.  Reward those who are dedicated. Better train those who are remiss and provide them with tools necessary to be successful.

In 1991 when I started my meeting planning service I had one goal; to always be able to work from home.  I am so fortunate that I stayed the course and anyone that works for me works from their home office, too.  Since our commute is less than 1 minute, we can get to work early and can finish work after normal business hours if necessary.  We don’t miss school field trips, we take care of our children if they are sick and can’t go to school, we take walks, and there is time to cook.  Until now, most people dreaded cooking dinner as it was all rush-rush and now that things have slowed down many find preparing meals more of a joy than dreadful.

Perhaps the goodness that will arise from this crisis is that most of us can work from home!  Less stress on yourself, your family, lower daycare costs, fewer sick days needed to care for our loved ones. It’s easier to work from home when you’re not feeling great, more time to exercise, cook, & still accomplish your job requirements, plus no commute time and lower clothing costs.  Albeit maintaining a social life outside of an office is the key to a fully rounded life of happiness. It can happen and you are proving that right now to your organization, your executives, and to yourself. We may be temporarily isolated from having social interactions, yet when this time passes, and it will, all of us will rejoice and be so happy to have in-person meetings with co-workers and get-togethers with family and friends.

One thing I know to be true; things get better.  When 9-11-2001 happened my business shut down within hours.  Out of the one of the darkest times in our country’s history, and after several months things did get better.  Again in 2008, our country suffered a huge recession prompting organizations to cancel meetings one after another.  I could barely answer the phone as each call was the same question: “how much will it cost us to cancel our event?” Painful memories for so many; not just for those of us in the meetings industry, but the entire country was affected financially and emotionally, just like now. 

Ready or not, the times are changing and the positives will outweigh the negatives; they always do.