For the past year, we as human beings globally have faced an unprecedented pandemic that has significantly altered our lives to the point where how we function is not in the fashions to which we were accustomed. The workplace has been no exception; the effect of the pandemic hit hard and offices had to shut down and have their employees work remotely, be laid off, or let go.  Frankly, we were not ready for this nor did we ever anticipate such a drastic shift in our daily work-lives and our lives in general.

Fast forward to nearly a year into this new way of working and you may be surprised to know that productivity according to Forbes has not declined as many thought it would. Yet, innovation did suffer which suggests that finding ways to continue collaboration is the true challenge, and thus a true motivator for businesses. Let’s not be so coy about the importance of humans meeting in person to feel more connected, confident and able to communicate. In-person effort is how we form our teams, innovate and collaborate to achieve our goals and mission as an organization. Yet, productivity has not really declined because individuals are in charge of their own work environments. Albeit one caveat, which is the working parent.

Like many working parents with children at home, this has not been an easy ride. As I face my own challenges, I have learned to appreciate and be flexible with my employees who ultimately make our organization shine. To ensure that productivity and motivation continue to grow, we use Microsoft Teams to communicate throughout the day. We use Zoom meetings to meet. We continue to have some employees work in the office, those who are comfortable, but with strict COVID19 guidelines. We have communicated to our employees that we will be flexible with the current situation as we realize that this “new normal” is here till at least 2022.

Motivation is a challenge during a pandemic, but it is important to set up expectations and standards that will help you achieve the success you desire. Even during a pandemic, it is important to get up and get dressed even if you ”could” stay in your pajamas. Mindset is important and consistency is important. Each day we freshen up our work environment by ensuring that we are organized.  While I do not need a list for everything, I do think they have their place in our lives. I try to set up the three big ticket items that I must accomplish and write down an additional three if I surprise myself and I work on those later.

Like many people, I love to interact with others in person and cannot wait to see them, so each day, I remind myself that I am improving myself for a post Covid-19 world.  To keep my sanity, I do limit my news as I feel that much of it is the same throughout the day. I work in 15 minutes increments better known as the pomodoro method as that is a productivity and motivation boost and keeps boredom at the side. As a human being, I stay socially connected to friends and colleagues and check up on them. Not only is it therapeutic for me but I thoroughly know they appreciate someone caring enough to check in on them.

Immigration law practitioners have faced so many hurdles over the past few years, that I think we can handle a pandemic. We have sacrificed a lot of ourselves and our families to defend the Rule of Law and I cannot see that changing anytime in the future. So, in the spirit of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”


AILA members and others interested in learning and hearing more on this topic may be interested in the Law Practice Management Track of AILA’s upcoming virtual Midwinter Conference.  See the full program for more details.