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Let’s not turn the corona crisis into the Solo Performance Olympics

‘In this exceptional situation, we should be kind to ourselves and to each other,’ says Assistant Professor Jukka Luoma.

'There are tips and advice going round in the media on how remote work can be done effectively, how social distance can be turned into an opportunity for self-development, and how a physically active lifestyle can be maintained in isolation.

In the coming weeks and months, the social media will be brimming with posts and articles in which people will speak of how they have been productive and physically active and have developed themselves during this state of emergency. We will get to read blogs that demonstrate how breaking everyday routines helps us focus on what matters most.

One meme has already reminded us that Isaac Newton came up with his theory of gravity while in quarantine because of bubonic plague. #nopressure

If you can effectively work remotely, great. If during this spring you complete your 10k run in record time, fantastic. If you complete an online course on artificial intelligence, splendid.

My intention is not to dampen the joy of success.

However, at such a time as this, success is above all an indicator of privilege and happiness, and this should be remembered and highlighted. Some have school-age children at home, others take care of those at risk, some belong to risk groups themselves, some get serious symptoms, some are paralysed by anxiety, some are suffering from an impoverished social life. These burdens are unevenly distributed and affect performance both at the workplace and in one’s studies.

We also have the option of trying to be kind on ourselves. We are in an exceptional situation where it is not meaningful to compare our performance to our own previous performance level, let alone to the performance of others. The coronavirus impacts the economy and the performance of organizations negatively, and this has nothing to do with individual performance.

Let’s be merciful to each other. When a colleague, subordinate, supervisor, teacher, student or work partner messes something up, put it down to the corona pressure.

We can return to performance mode once this is all over.’

The author Jukka Luoma works as Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management. The article was originally published in Finnish on LinkedIn on 18 March 2020.

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