All of these factors mean that planning is never final: every plan has to have a plan b, plan c and maybe even a start-all-over-again plan. Every decision has to be reviewed in the light of constantly changing circumstances.
Ironically, given instructions, managers can implement plans within their own organisations. But not only do the instructions keep changing, they do so in ways that are fundamental to the business and, worse, often at very short notice.
Add in that the managers also have to deal with similar changes at home: is there a lockdown, is going out for a walk permitted, can I sit on my garden chair and have a quiet moment, can I go out to buy toothpaste or is that not classed as ″a necessity″? And if I can do those things today, will I be able to do them tomorrow.
The minutiae of life become major decisions. Nothing can be done on autopilot. And for managers working at home, that is doubly so. And there is no one to turn to because husbands and wives are having their own problems with the same issues and no one wants to add to their spouse’s burden.
The loneliness of the long-distance manager should not be under-estimated. They are having to be brave for everyone. Their families, their staff, their customers, their bankers or other sources of finance.
They are juggling great balls of fire.