Thoughts from the Director

Hi friends...  
I appreciate your patience as I worked this last week to gather information, seek clarity, and develop some strategies in cooperation with our area leaders, administrative cabinet, and college partners around various aspects related to the budget and our eventual transitioning back to offices. As you can imagine, there are a great many moving parts and complexities to these topics and efforts. I continue to be so very impressed with the many ways in which you have engaged with your clientele, our community partners, and with one another. The innovation, creativity, solution-seeking, and power of collaboration across program areas, counties, regions, and issues has been invigorating and inspiring. I know that each new week in telework environments brings its own levels of comfort and discomfort, successes and frustrations, and appreciation for technology while likely wishing you never had to see another Zoom room again. It seems like we are often surrounded by ambiguity and complexities. I would like to tell you that the next two to three months will be an easier transition, but I have committed to being as forthright and transparent as possible. 

Our goal over the next few weeks to months is to focus on being highly proactive in planning for the impacts of the budget cuts we are seeing at the state and local levels and to adequately prepare for the phased return to offices for essential/time-sensitive activities as approximately 90% of businesses in Ohio are open for some level of service. We will need to work as a unified team, with flexibility, cooperation, and continued grace as we begin the next phases of navigating our OSU Extension work during the COVID-19 situation. We will need to balance health and well-being, frugal resource management, and thoughtful return to office approaches. I am asking for your active and unified collaboration in working through these challenges TOGETHER. We are stronger and smarter together than any of us are on our own. The resources, tools, and strategies we will be sharing for joint planning and preparedness for addressing budget constraints and return to offices will require us all to understand that not every office is the same, not every employee has the same life circumstances, and not every approach will be perfectly executed. Please be patient with one another and with leadership as we work toward a common set of goals—keeping us safe while meeting our mission.