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Lessons Learned During the Pandemic: Corporate Mobility Manager 09.18.2020 | Susan Pineau

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Always take the trip insurance.”

“My bleach obsession isn’t so weird now, is it?”

“It’s not enough to make sure you’re fully clothed for the video call, everyone else in the house must be, too.”

These are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic (the last one being perhaps the most hard-learned).

To assess the ways our world has changed since the pandemic, I spent the last month chatting with experts from around the mobility industry about the things they’ve learned about work, family and even themselves during this odd and uncertain time. The results have inspired a series of blog posts.

For our first installment, I caught up with our main contact (MC) at one of Weichert’s newest clients, a major retailer. She shared with us several lessons that she’s learned, including:

Sometimes you have to get creative: MC’s school-age children had to adapt to on-line learning while she was simultaneously adapting to working from home. Her spouse’s job required him to continue working outside the home, so she had to devise a creative way to attend to the children, while setting boundaries to ensure the fulfillment of their own numerous work obligations.

The answer? She explained to the children that when wearing a work security badge lanyard at home, it meant she was “at work” and that interruptions had to be kept to a minimum. In order to keep the children’s friends from ringing the doorbell throughout the day, she established with those families that when her family was outside, it could be play time, but otherwise it was work/school time.

Patience is key: Our MC realized early that most other work associates were in the same boat, once marveling that a colleague was able to engage in a video call without missing a beat, all while rocking a fussy baby who needed soothing. Approaching situations with patience, whether at home or work, always produces better outcomes.

Be grateful: Our MC realized that while certainly not optimal, the situation could have been so much worse. She and her spouse have had continual work throughout the pandemic and their friends and families remain safe and healthy. Having a grateful mindset can prevent falling into despair, which is particularly important when trying to reassure children.

Self-care is important: Our MC knows that staying healthy is critical in being able to meet the many obligations of work and home life. She used to attend a company-sponsored yoga class once a week at the office, but without having to commute, has been able to increase yoga sessions to three a week at home, and still has extra time to take walks. She’s also maintained a healthy diet to help keep a clear mind and a high energy level. Oh, and she is now a huge fan of grocery delivery service, Click List, to save time and reduce stress, because who really loves to spend their time grocery shopping?

Company culture matters: Our MC described her company culture as strong, caring and inclusive. From the beginning of the stay-at-home order, the company took steps to ensure that all employees were supported and stayed connected to that company culture, a move that she credits with the company’s ability to smoothly pivot from an in-the-office to a home-based approach while maintaining productivity and strong colleague relationships.

As a retailer in an essential industry, the company has many jobs which can’t be done from home. Our MC says the company has been very generous in ensuring that the front-line workforce has everything they need to continue serving customers while remaining safe, taking care of their loved ones and continuing to feel like valued employees.

And while the company has opened some offices and many employees are eager to return, they are leaving it up to each employee to do what best suits their situation for now.

Be flexible: Implementing a global mobility program with a new provider requires managing myriad details simultaneously within a limited time frame; no small undertaking. The typical process includes in-person meetings which get the work done and help to establish a relationship between client administrator and service team. While our MC laments the inability to meet in person, delaying the implementation process was not an option and so frequent calls and video meetings filled the gap.

Regardless of our physical separation, our MC has made it clear to her Weichert Client Service team that our relationship is viewed as a partnership in which open communication is essential. We couldn’t agree more and are looking forward to working day-to-day with her and her team. Perhaps having lunch together, in the same room– maybe even mask-less (gasp!)–very soon.

In the next installment of this series, we’ll talk to our Consulting team to see what they’ve learned from helping corporate clients navigate COVID-19.

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Written by Susan Pineau

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Susan is a Research Analyst in our Advisory Services group. She has over 25 years of experience in workforce mobility, encompassing roles in Client Services, Equity, Client Accounting, Expense Management, Implementation and Proposal Writing.

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