Struggles of Working from Home and Your Crazy Hair

Jun 09, 2020
I need a hair cut

Like millions of Americans, you’ve probably grown weary with yet another video conference call. Or, said differently, it’s another meeting where the same colleague dominates and extends its length 15 minutes past the scheduled end-time: “I’ve got one more question!” [Insert eye roll here!] Your calendar has become an oracle of sorts, helping you predict when to shower next. And your hair, if you have any, is reaching epic heights.

Working from home has become its own reality show. It’s an unexpected invasion of privacy where you have to reveal your home life in all its glory: cluttered kitchen; lack of interior design skills; the uncontrolled growth of toddler toys that dominate your home. And, again, there’s your out of control hair. To show or not show your face?  That is the question.

Or maybe not.

We all need to relax our expectations around what our video background looks like or how we appear in video meetings. Your colleagues are struggling with similar constraints—lack of barber/hairstylists; kids at home; long work hours eating into chores like cleaning or tidying-up the place; at-home workouts squeezed in before the day begins or in-between meetings, and on and on and on.

The struggle is real. It’s also unnecessary pressure.

Let’s give each other one long hall pass. From this point forward, let’s forget about our backgrounds or hairstyles for the next camera appearance. That will free us all up to show up. Be present. Contribute to the meeting without the cognitive distractions from worrying about appearing to have our hair tamed and our place clean.

My lack of hair or your abundance of it has nothing to do with the quality of our work. The quality of our interactions, however, is way more meaningful to progress. And let’s face it, your stories about taming your hair only serve as a way for us to bond and connect. And laugh. (Those curls! Who knew?)

Now, we need to make sure we don’t give anyone a hall pass in meeting facilitation. If you lead a meeting scheduled for 30 or 60 minutes, you better wrap it up in the expected timeframe. If not, the “wrap it music” from the Oscars will begin to drown you out, and the meeting will end. Wouldn’t that be great?!

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About the Author

Shawn Murphy

Shawn is our Director of Organizational Behavior and Workplace Trends. His second book, Work Tribes is out now along with his first book, The Optimistic Workplace.

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