5 Ways to Show Kindness Towards Your Teams Amid COVID
Now, more than ever, is the time to continue showing compassion and grace for one another amid the pandemic.
I would be lying if I said that I was not a little worried about the notion of returning to the office after being ‘socially distant’ for months. Fortunately, SHL is prioritizing safety for its employees above everything else, and we are not opening offices in regions where hotspots of COVID still exist. In addition, we have gone to great lengths to create a safe environment for employees that want to work in the office. Personally, I could work remotely forever, and especially during a time when COVID seems to rage on.
However, some of my colleagues cannot wait to get back to the office for various reasons: they have several distractions at home (barking dogs, kids, etc.), they may not have space for a proper office, and/or they need the energy of their colleagues every day to feel engaged in their work. The spectrum of how we all feel is diverse, and I continue to wonder how this will change business for the long term.
One thing is for sure – it is still important to remain flexible, kind, and compassionate toward one another. We were all hoping that the impacts of COVID would subside over the summer months, but in many countries, we are facing climbing rates of infection and a deepening economic depression. Uncertainty continues to exist at the forefront of people’s minds.
Now, more than ever, it is of utmost importance that as colleagues, employers, and friends, we show each other compassion and grace as everyone navigates through these times. Here are a few suggestions for how we can show each other kindness:
#1—Check in with your colleagues from time to time
The saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. When working remotely – it is very easy to be entrenched in your daily stressors and life, especially when something as traumatizing as a pandemic is occurring around you. But I encourage you to take a few moments every week to think about one of your coworkers – send them a note, set up a check-in, or record a funny video that would make them smile. Small acts of checking in will go a long way to help people feel connected and can help maintain relationships throughout our time with mass remote working. Regularly checking in with one another will help maintain a productive and meaningful culture in your team.
#2—Show grace when you sense someone is feeling unmotivated or down
We all carry our full selves into the workplace, even if the workplace is now in the middle of your dining table. The world around us is stressful, and we are all looking for ways to cope and navigate. It is normal to have days that you feel tired and unmotivated. It is just as normal that your colleagues will have similar days. I think it is important to recognize that in each other and encourage self-care when we become aware of it. Use PTO days, take a 20-minute nap to help shut down your brain, practice mindfulness, and breathing exercises – anything to help your mind and body take the time it needs to address the stress we face. As a team and culture, we should encourage each other to practice these wellness tips, especially when we are noticing signs of fatigue or apathy. That is the first indication that someone, maybe even you, needs some time off.
#3—Offer to help with a project, even if it is not in your job description
So many people around me – both friends and colleagues – have noted that they are working more hours than ever before. There are several reasons for this, for example – people are working remotely and have a tough time separating life from work and/or co-workers are often working at all hours of the day, so email, projects, and process flows continue to enter our inboxes. Many are feeling overwhelmed and are not sure how to build boundaries at work. If one of your colleagues has expressed that they have too much on their plate, then offer to help with one of their projects. In this scenario, everyone can win! You may get the opportunity to learn a new skill, build a deeper connection with your colleague, and help to ease some of their burdens.
Take a few moments every week to think about one of your coworkers – send them a note, set up a check-in, or record a funny video that would make them smile.
#4—Let others know when you need help
Asking for help does not come easy for everyone, but it is an important skill set to grow during times like the ones we are facing. In my opinion, leaders should be setting the example of self-care and vulnerability, so that team members can see and learn from their practice and demonstration. Start by finding people in the organization that you trust and ask for help on something that has low pressure attached to it. As you grow in your comfort of relying on each other, then you will inadvertently build a culture of people who trust one another and collaborate for the success of the whole team.
#5—Remember your manners
Saying “please” and “thank you” go a long way! It can be easy to forget these words when work is busy, and the world is going so fast around you. Challenge yourself to take time to recognize a team member every week. Say thank you for large and small things. You may find that these small gestures build energy and positivity in working relationships and in project work. SHL has invested in recognition platforms that help our teams keep recognition at the forefront of their minds.
For those, like myself, who are worried about returning to an office environment, to those who are desperate to go back, and everyone in between, there is room to create a safe, trusting, and energetic work environment. Showing kindness and compassion for one another will go a long way to maintain a healthy and productive working culture.
Reach out to us at SHL if you would like to know more about how we can support your teams with the resources you need to stay resilient, innovative, and agile.