Coping with Uncertain Times

Sharyl Jones
VP, DevOps

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As the Head of Customer Success, I ensure that all our clients, from SMBs to Fortune 500 organizations are successful throughout their DevOps journey. The other aspect of my role includes managing a team of DevOps Specialists who deliver professional services on-premises or in the cloud.

I feel very fortunate to work with such a great, hardworking team and, also, for such a great organization. There is an amazing culture of unconditional support here. We are a community that works together to deliver great services to our clients.

As a leader with over 20 years of experience in the technical field, I consider myself a bit of an expert when it comes to tackling change and new challenges. Recently, we’ve experienced unprecedented personal and professional change, change that every person and company in the world is experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given these unprecedented times, I wanted to share with everyone some insights into how Indellient is coping with these changes, in hopes that it will, in turn, help you manage.

Accountability Meetings

Whether you set professional or personal goals at the start of the new year or Q1, a key factor to success is staying accountable to meeting those goals.

I host a weekly Accountability Group where all individuals from across the organization are invited to discuss their objectives to help each other stay accountable. Accountability requires transparency, honesty, and self-awareness. We meet every week because we have found that it is the best way to help us achieve this.

A few weeks ago, the entire organization shifted to work from home in alignment with the recommendations to flatten the curve of COVID-19. As you can imagine, this put a bit of roadblock in front of many of our goals. Our accountability group has been extremely helpful for our team members to be able to talk about their roadblocks, how to update their goals, re-evaluate what is important, and craft a new roadmap to achievement.

Pivoting the Conversation

This past week when we got together, we parked the objectives and accountability discussion in favor of a discussion on hope, coping, anxiety and stress management. During our 1-hour meeting, we shared how we’ve learned to pivot our lives to stay sane during these ever-changing days. The discussion was an amazing example of why we all need to come together as humans to form support communities for each other.

It’s important to take into consideration that your team members are not likely operating at 100% these days. Whether they are a parent who is taking care of kids while working from home, or an individual struggling to cope with their mental health while in isolation, as a team, we must take steps to support one another so that we can continue to bring the best version of ourselves to work each day.  

Our Favorite Coping Tips:

One of the pillars of our culture at Indellient is knowledge sharing. We want to grow an incredible community. So, whether you are a client, a fellow team member, or a friend we haven’t met yet, we hope that we can be of service and support to you. In the spirit of sharing, here are some of the great activities our team members are doing to cope during these uncertain times.

Practice Gratitude: Although this is a challenging time, there is still a lot to be thankful for. Practicing gratitude helps boost our physical, psychological and social health. One of our colleagues has us practicing what he has dubbed “Feel Good Friday”. Every Friday in our Slack’s general chat, he prompts us to share what we feel good about. This ranges from feeling good about the sunshine that day to completing a PR on time. This practice leaves us going into the weekend on a high note.

Help Others: We work in Service Delivery because we want to help people. This also transcends to our everyday lives. For those of us who are able, we volunteer to deliver groceries, we support local business whenever possible by ordering take out, purchasing gift cards, and we are always there to answer any questions or offer support to each other. Taking care of our ‘work’ family and our ‘community’ family, as well as our immediate and extended families, is so important during this time. And of course, the best way to help our ‘world community’ currently is really very simple – stay home!

 Move: Just because we can’t go to the gym right now, doesn’t mean that we can’t move our bodies in other ways. Taking time to move in some way every day, whether that is a walk around your neighborhood, a yoga session or a virtual workout is crucial to maintaining our overall health. Our team hosts a Zoom workout 3-4 times a week between 4:30-5:00 pm. We’ve been having a lot of fun trying new workouts together!

Indellient workout by Sharyl through conference call
Indellient workout through conference call

Timebox Your Day: It can be very challenging to achieve work-life balance when suddenly, your “work” and your “life” is confined to your home. Timeboxing can be an effective way to set boundaries and allocate time to focus on each activity. Try establishing a set of work hours, time for exercise, as well as time for hobbies, family, “chilling”, or catching up with friends on Zoom.

Journaling: Try writing your entries from the perspective of your five senses with a focus on everyday joys.

Limit the amount of News you Consume: Set a timer for yourself! It’s easy to get consumed by the 24-hour news cycle. Just as we set “screen time limits” for children, try setting a limit for yourself when viewing news.

Take up a New Hobby: Ever thought about taking up knitting? What about photography? Now is a great chance to take up a new hobby with your additional free time. This might sound tough to do, for example, you may not have yarn and needles at home, and the local craft store is closed. Well, you can still take this opportunity to learn! You can watch a YouTube video, or join an online community that shares those same interests.

Rekindle Interest in an Old Hobby: “Life” often gets in the way of doing the things we love. Sometimes our hobbies get pushed to the backburner. Remember that scrapbook you were going to make? What about lacing up for a long run? Now is your moment to rekindle that flame.

Catch up with Friends and Family: One thing all our team members noticed was how, ironically, this time at home has helped improve our relationships with friends and family. As mentioned before, it’s easy for “life” to get in the way. So, we might cancel that dinner date or RSVP “no” to going to that party. Now, we’ve had to rethink how we connect with people. Without “life” getting in the way, we have so much more time to connect, and we have more ways than ever to do it thanks to the internet – everything from “Netflix Parties”, to virtual happy hours to Zoom workouts!

Indellient Happy hour through zoom. 12 Indellient Employees posing.
Indellient Happy Hour on Fridays on Zoom

Focus on the Present: With all this uncertainty, it can be hard for us to see the big picture, and that’s okay. Now is the time to take a step back, take it one day at a time, and focus on what priorities are the most important to you that day.

Indellient is a Software Development Company that specializes in Data AnalyticsCloud Development ApplicationDevOps Services, and Business Process Management.

About The Author

Sharyl Jones

As VP DevOps at Indellient, Sharyl oversees the delivery of DevOps services to ensure customer success. Sharyl leads a team of top DevOps Solution Engineers and supports initiatives centered on delivering professional services on-premises or in the cloud for medium and large-sized enterprises. She specializes in providing strategic leadership, guidance, and planning to help enterprises with their DevOps transformation. Sharyl's business experience includes: 25+ years of progressive experience in technology-related roles in dynamic environments | Deep understanding of all aspects of software development, architecture, including coding, testing, release planning, support | Over a decade of experience managing technical teams, mentoring, performance management and delivering results | 8+ years of experience taking complex projects from initial concept through final launch including web, mobile and distributed systems | Experience developing project management frameworks, software release processes and testing harnesses to deliver high quality software products | Evangelist for the 'shift to the left' - promotion of DevOps Culture and moving to the Cloud | Strong leader with a passionate drive in team motivation, Growth mindsets, culture first | Exceptional strategic thinker with the ability to analyze and creatively solve technical problems.