First published on Biz Women.
Even a pandemic is different for working women. The lines between personal and professional physically blur when working from home, often with a spouse, parent, child, pet or all of the above. Carolyn Morgan is president of PRECISIONeffect, the nation’s only advertising agency working with innovative healthcare companies to change the standards of care (SoC). She’s also co-principal of “Morgan Elementary” aka her house where her four kids teach patience and moderation.
"Raising two sets of twins (9 and 7), leading advertising and medical communications teams in four geographies, worrying about my aging parents, and trying to be a supportive wife – it’s a handful without a pandemic. Add the life-altering ingredient into the mix and it has become upside-down time.
Our brains need to organize, filter, and simplify. So I seek moderation in all spheres. For example, while I need to stay abreast of world events, I limit my intake. Like all things, a small dose is enough.
Balancing virtual learning for four was a big hurdle. I can assure you that a teacher I am not (and like all parents, I have a newfound level of admiration for our teachers). My motto: try to inflict more good than damage. It goes for the marriage too. Pre-pandemic, the only place we’d fight was Target. Mornings, homeschool doesn’t bring out our best. But afternoons, when my husband takes them outside for an activity, I feel pretty proud of Morgan Elementary. Eager to see how spring kick-the-can tryouts go (happening live as I type this).
Work has been fascinating. We’ve always been team-based and had recently introduced new online software to enable workshare between teams and offices. Combine that with our cameras-on culture and our teams went home Monday, March 8th and came online seamlessly Tuesday. We’re in the pharma/biotech/device/diagnostics space, so we haven’t seen a disruption in business; if anything, we have been responding with more urgency as our clients need to communicate with healthcare professionals and patients in this unprecedented time.
While the work remains steady and the team collaborates well, I angst about Zoom time, the creep into personal space, and everyone’s mental burnout. We have tried to shorten meetings, put breaks on calendars, encourage people to work out in the middle of the day, and claim back their “me-time” to take care of themselves.
Extraordinary beauty has emerged amidst the chaos. I watch my children expand their minds in real time. I haven’t missed a dinner or a tuck-in in 5 weeks. We play more games and spend uninterrupted time together. At work, I am checking in with all of our team members, learning more about them as individuals, and asking them where we can continue to be better. All of these things wouldn’t have happened without the pandemic.
So, while I wish desperately that we were reopening the small businesses, the schools, and the sports fields of our towns, I am grateful to have what my mind needs – color in a sea of gray. We will continue care for one another. We will create a vaccine because that is what science and humans do: solve hard problems. In the meantime, let’s embrace the changes where we can and help each other when we can’t."