How Dozens Of Entrepreneurs Are Navigating Uncertain Waters – Part VII: How To Face The Crisis, Personally

What we are experiencing today is unprecedented and offers us the opportunity to rethink our lives and the way we operate. Talking about our stories individually does not seem appropriate. What does seem appropriate is expressing our collective fears, anxieties, ideas and stories as we ride through this pandemic together.
by: Charles-Louis Machuron
illustration: Studio Polenta

How do we – the entrepreneurs, freelancers and startup founders – deal with the situation on a daily basis? How do we organize ourselves to work remotely? What technological tools do we use? What are the risks and opportunities for us? Are we ready to telework? Are all sectors at a standstill or does digital technology allow for the continuity of work? These are questions we’ve decided to collectively explore in this special issue.

We are all at the starting line but we may not all reach the finish line. This is precisely why we have to stick together, support each other, and ask for help (if needed) to get through this crisis.

VII. How To Face The Crisis, Personally

“I am working longer hours than even before as we have to deal with many unexpected instances. But I must admit that I secretly enjoy other parts of the change as well. My kids are off from school, and my wife is at home too, so we are having lunch together and seeing each other much more than usual. Even though I then lock myself up in my home office afterwards. I do look forward to going back to the normal flow in a few weeks (hopefully) but in the meantime I try to enjoy the extra contact moments with the family too.
– Bert Boerman,

“The impact was immediate for me since I took the decision to leave India (where we have an office) when it became clear that Europe was about to be locked down. Two hours later after speaking to Luxembourg officials in India, I jumped in the first plane with my fingers crossed that I would reach Luxembourg.

Staying in India would not have been an issue personally or professionally, but I wanted to make sure to be in the same geographical area as our employees, investors and partners in order to have more reach if required.”
– Kevin Muller, Passbolt

“As an entrepreneur whose businesses have always had a digital focus, it has been difficult for me to set boundaries between my personal and professional lives. This has changed now. So it was time to reconsider some habits – for instance, the room we called the “home office” became the dedicated ‘work zone’. My kids became used to it quite quickly, asking me if I was “going to work” when going to the upper floor in the morning. Drawing such boundaries has helped, even though there is of course a need to make compromises with two kids aged 5 and 8 and two parents that have highly demanding jobs.”
– Raoul Mulheims, Finologee

“I cannot complain: I didn’t get stuck abroad, work can continue, I have enough food for weeks, big windows, and no kids to disturb me. We will see if I am still sane in the coming weeks.”
– Luc Falempin, Tokeny Solutions

“This is an opportunity to check how we all react to stress and dramatic scenarios. Honestly, I feel a growing sense of empathy with everyone.”
– Marzio Schena, ANote Music

“I meditate a lot and do breathing exercises. Preserving mental health and distancing yourself to some fake news is as important as social distancing. Food is an integral part of our survival – I enjoy cooking with fresh produce. My thoughts circulate around the usual, as that’s the how I am: strategy, strategy, strategy.

I do have some panic attacks from time to time, as my loved ones are the most important to me. We are all humans after all. My children are quarantined with their father. We took this decision jointly, since I am faced with more risk and he can keep them safe. I see some parents being exhausted after a few days of lockdown with children. For me the days are even longer without them. When I think of all the doctors and nurses separated from their children, I feel their pain.”
– Gosia Kramer, The Office

“We created a schedule for our 6-year-old daughter. Small sessions of school work, games, awakening and relaxation. It is not always respected, but it gives rhythm to the day and allows everyone to manage his or her occupations and work time efficiently.
It also allows us to eat together and reduce arguments. Even if the tension rises at times, we know we’re going to get through it together and that’s what counts.”
– Johnny Lagneau, Warrigal

“We’re trying to make the best out of it. Given that both my husband and my 11 and 8 year old daughters are at home, we have created “home working/home schooling” house rules that everybody could contribute to and had to sign.

One of the key aspects of it is “schedule” or “time-boxing”, which is critical for us when working with our children around. They have normal “school” hours where they work from their room with breaks that they spend in the garden. I try to align my working slots so that I can take a quick break when they are enjoying their breaks. Between 4 and 6.30, it’s playtime for them while we are still working/having calls. My husband and I take a break between 6.30 and 8.30 for dinner and quiet time with them. When they’re in bed, we have another couple of hours of work. So far, the girls are very disciplined…let’s see how long this lasts ;-)”
– Gaëlle Haag, StarTalers

Read Part I: Working Remotely
Read Part II: Tech Tools Used
Read Part III: Fears
Read Part IV: Issues
Read Part V: Opportunities
Read Part VI: 24 Hours In A Life Of An Entrepreneur
Read Part VIII: How To Face The Crisis Professionally
Read Part IX: How To Keep The Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive

This article was first published in Silicon Luxembourg magazine (special Covid edition “Hope”). Download now.

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