Life as a CEO during COVID-19

I often think about what habits will continue as part of the new norm when COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

For the last several months, I’ve exercised three ways regularly. I work out at a gym in the morning before work, I do a Title Boxing Club workout during lunch time; and, on some evenings, I participate in an Orangetheory class. Exercise helps me relieve stress and keeps me healthy. Before COVID-19, I ran in a road race most weekends; and I’ve missed being able to do that. Happily, racing events have started up again. I just completed the Happy Hour Hustle 5k series of six races. Of course, in every athletic venue we adhere to all applicable COVID-19 safety protocols.

I’ve always worked long hours, but now I work part of each day from home. I also put in some hours every day in my office, where I am one of 50 or so colleagues who distance themselves to work in our corporate headquarters in Concord. Most of our employees are still working from their homes.

Every morning since the pandemic began, I email all my colleagues to encourage them and keep us all moving in the same, focused, direction. I attach a photo of my granddaughter, Havanna, as a reminder of the importance of achieving work/life balance—more challenging than ever for those working at home. Lastly, I include a brief message from our fitness coach, Tom Walton.

Since COVID-19 protocols kicked in, our corporate policy has prohibited in-person meetings. The meeting platform we use most typically is WebEx. Four of my regularly scheduled meetings are with key people on my senior management team and the External Affairs department each once a week as well as my vice presidents twice a week.

I meet with several boards, some providing leadership to our enterprise and others providing direction to community nonprofits. Only the meeting location—from physical to virtual—has changed. During a recent week, on Monday and Thursday, I chaired board meetings of ExcellenceNorth Alliance and NH Coalition for Business and Education (respectively). On Wednesday, I participated in a board meeting of the NH Business Committee for the Arts. After that meeting, I met with a Delta Dental Plan of Maine corporate governance advisory committee. 

In many ways, meeting virtually is easier. Travel time and associated costs are eliminated. I wonder how much business will be done virtually rather than in-person after COVID-19. I’ve always maintained that while each form of communication has its value, live, face-to-face communication is the best way to network and build valuable relationships. What do you think? [Click here to learn more about- ExcellenceNorth Alliance, NH Coalition for Business and Education, and NH Business Committee for the Arts.]

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