When the COVID-19 quarantine began, I quickly resorted to my favorite movie series, Harry Potter, to get through the early days and nights at home. While watching the Deathly Hallows Part II, a particular quote stood out to me, as it provided an immediate sense of comfort about these trying times. While standing in what looked like King’s Cross Station, Dumbledore told Harry, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”
Words are magic. What a simple thought…
Words carry a significant weight for us. Words can heal us. In fact, the right words at the right time can make all the difference.
On March 13, when our Challenger colleagues around the world packed up their laptops and carried their monitors out of our offices to set up their new offices in bedrooms, basements, kitchens, and family rooms, there was so much unknown. How many days would we be working from home? How would we create new home offices that didn’t exist before? How long until we would see our co-workers again? How would we keep in touch?
Little did we know, at the time, that there would come some beauty from the unknown. Just because our offices were closed didn’t mean our colleagues no longer had a place to gather; it meant the values and corporate culture we embedded in Arlington, London, Chicago, and Sydney suddenly dispersed and infiltrated cities and suburbs around the world.
So how do we bring all of these “new” offices together?
In a matter of days, our colleagues far and wide found new and innovative ways to come together virtually through our Challenger Life: Home Edition series. Each week for the last several weeks—and for the foreseeable future—we’ve scheduled several events for everyone to attend.
- On Mondays, we clear our heads for the coming week with 15-minute meditation sessions. There are so many options that are free to access right now!
- On Tuesdays, we keep our minds and bodies sharp. To date we’ve hosted several Lunch & Learn sessions on topics solicited by our coworkers (covered so far: marketing best practices, “Owning the Room” presentation tips, and women in the workplace). We’ve also kicked off circuit training sessions run by our Director of Global Advisory (and former British Army Captain in the Royal Corps of Signals), and yoga classes streamed directly to our living rooms.
- On Wednesdays, we have some fun to break up the week, with company-wide trivia competitions or game nights.
- On Thursdays, we bring our families together for The Chronicles of Challenger, a dedicated story time that gives all of our children a chance to (at the right time and place) pop into our Zoom meetings, play with virtual backgrounds, and hear a story read aloud.
Every day, we also use our words to connect. At Challenger, we created a channel via Microsoft Teams where our colleagues can communicate about the challenges and successes of working remotely; we share pictures of our movement challenges for the day (planking, yoga, and squats!), tips on how we’ve spruced up our new office spaces (a healthy chat about house plants), daily schedules we’ve established for our children (homeschooling and screen time), and myriad articles that focus on mental health and well-being during challenging times.
We are using our words more than ever to stay in touch, meet families, help each other, and have fun to compensate for the handshakes, snack days, and kickball games we’re missing out on right now. Why? Because words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. And I think we could all use a little magic now more than ever.