The coronavirus outbreak has required everyone to abruptly adjust their entire lives with little to no warning or time for preparation. Schools across the country closed in a matter of days, many businesses were suddenly forced to work from home until further notice, and individuals everywhere were left wondering how to get the basic daily necessities. As the founder and CEO of a company as well as the mother to a young boy, creating and sticking to this new normal has been quite an adjustment and doing it from multiple angles has been nothing short of a challenge
If there's any silver lining here, it's the extra time I have to spend with my son and partner. I'll be taking advantage of those moments for as long as we can.
I'm not just managing my company and team at Naturalicious, I am also in charge of maintaining a consistent schedule for my 9-year-old son all while carving out time for myself to adapt to a new routine. As the nation approaches one full month of extreme social distancing that includes working and schooling at home, my "new normal" has finally taken shape, but it didn't come without a lot of struggle and plenty of trial and error. I'm here to share what's worked for me in the hope it may work for you, too.
As The Leader Of My Team…
It's my responsibility to ensure that my staff feels the least amount of stress as possible so that they can remain productive and healthy during this time. My first order of business was to close our office and allow my team to work from home with their full pay.
While we are all at home, technology has allowed us to remain efficiently connected: we communicate via Slack, and host our regular meetings via Google Hangouts. All full-time, salaried employees at Naturalicious have always had unlimited vacation time, unlimited PTO, and unlimited sick days. So working from home actually isn't that foreign of a concept for us. Additionally, our Operations Lead does a great job of keeping our inventory levels on par consistently, and she began planning for a shortage in supply due to coronavirus when we first started to hear that it may impact small businesses in a big way.
As the founder and CEO of a company as well as the mother to a young boy, creating and sticking to this new normal has been quite an adjustment and doing it from multiple angles has been nothing short of a challenge.
At the same time, our marketing team is pressing full steam ahead to ensure our overall brand messaging doesn't get lost in the sea of COVID-19 chaos. From that standpoint, it's been business as usual. Our supply chain has definitely been affected. Though we manufacture all of our products in the U.S., some of our raw materials and packaging are imported from Europe and Africa. But with the proper planning, we've always done (even before COVID-19) and our solid contingency plan is allowing us to feel confident about weathering this storm.
We realize customers may not be working as much as usual and they may be tightening up their wallets during this time. But we've built an extremely strong and loyal tribe of thousands of Claymates (aka our customers) who have proactively informed us that they're actually doubling down on stocking up on Naturalicious while they are quarantined.
I'm adamant that my son Caiden sticks to a regular schedule. Just because he's away from the classroom doesn't mean he has the flexibility to start his schoolwork in the middle of the afternoon or prioritize cartoons over academics. We've been very diligent about his schedule — waking up, eating breakfast, and beginning schoolwork as normal. It's important for my son to stick to a routine for himself and for me. As the owner of a business, I have to maintain my company during operating hours. I still have conference calls and virtual company meetings as well as manufacturing and marketing decisions to make. Of course, there is a little flexibility and every day is different, but the general structure is in place and we work together to make sure our daytime is productive and running smoothly.
Ohh Glorious Me Time...
It can be hard to carve out time for myself in a normal world, let alone during a pandemic. But I find moments to workout or take a walk, read a book, take a bath, or simply take a few breaths. I've found one of the hardest adjustments is separating work from home life as they are both under the same roof for the foreseeable future. It's important to step away from the designated work area for a moment, and I'm fortunate to have a backyard where I can get some fresh air. Cooking for my family or playing a game with my son falls under me time, as well, so I'm reminding myself to be fully present in those moments and not thinking about the work I just left in the other room. If there's any silver lining here, it's the extra time I have to spend with my son and partner. I'll be taking advantage of those moments for as long as we can.
WRITTEN BYGwen Jimmere