This article is part of a new HerMoney Healthline series where we ask pros in a wide range of fields for their top tips on making it through the social and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Browse past HerMoney Healthlines here.
As we adjust to a new normal amidst the pandemic, we’re facing plenty of new challenges. One of the biggest may be communication. So much gets lost in translation when it comes to e-communicating, which may mean traditional work processes are being slowed as tensions run high. And although we’re all supposed to be practicing extra compassion and appreciation, it’s difficult to look at the big picture when dealing with a work problem that is difficult to fix from the living room.
That’s exactly why we reached out to Erica Keswin, author of the book, “Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That Is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World.” She’s an expert on staying positively connected and being human to our coworkers — she also joined us for episode 137 of the HerMoney podcast! She has been focusing her efforts on how we can do that from at least six (or more) feet apart during the coronavirus pandemic, and the reality that we will be working from home for the foreseeable future. She has dedicated her life’s work to learning how to speak in a human voice, finding the sweet spot between tech and true connections, and meetings that won’t waste your time — all things that are absolutely crucial as we’re all participating in what feels like a never-ending self-quarantine.
Keswin offered the HerMoney community some wonderful insight on what to do during these times when we feel like we might be going stir-crazy. Here’s what she had to say.
“Ask yourself — are you prioritizing relationships, and does your calendar reflect your values? Look at your calendar and see how you’ve spent your time. We have more hours in the day to do things now that we are not spending time on a commute. Did you really connect in a way to help deepen relationships and to contribute to your self care?,” Keswin asks. If you haven’t, it’s time to rework your work-from-home calendar. Be sure to connect with family who might not be under the same roof as you, and reach out to friends — especially those who you have not spoken to in a long time. Assess how you’re spending your time and make sure it is adding positive energy to your day. Instead of scrolling endlessly on Instagram, pick up the book you’ve been promising yourself you’d read. When the sun comes out, go outside and enjoy the nice weather.
“Not all of these communication mediums are created equal. There is a range of how we can communicate via technology, from instant messaging and texting to calling and Skyping or Zooming. Maybe instead of texting, you should Zoom call someone. But make sure you’re not burning out by making too many Zoom calls. There is a sweet spot between technology and connection. How do you leverage tech for all of its greatness, and also put it in its place? You need to find time to turn it off,” Keswin explains.
Put Protocols In Place
“When we’re left to our own devices, we’re not connecting,” Keswin says, and without certain protocols in place, we won’t achieve our personal or business goals during this time. Some examples of important ones include:
- Being real and speaking in a human voice. Leaders need to bring their human side to the table. This gives the people who work for them the permission to do that, too. Bringing leadership perspective to employees, not caring if people’s roots are gray, and not minding if dogs or kids show up in the virtual meeting are very easy and important ways to “be human” right now.
- Being transparent. Leaders do not hide information. There are companies where CEOs are speaking to all of their employees, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day. People look up to their leaders, so hearing from them encourages a layer of comfort.
- When having a meeting, don’t just jump right into business. First, have a personal check-in. Encourage people to go around and tell the group what is going on with them — ask everyone to share something good or bad, and let them know you’re there for them.
- Try to maintain as many of your normal rituals as you safely can. This will give you a sense of psychological safety and belonging.
- Try to have fun!
To hear Keswin’s original HerMoney podcast about being more human, listen in here.
More from HerMoney:
- Author and comedian Jeff Kreisler on keeping money mistakes in check during coronavirus
- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charles Duhigg on how to keep good habits while working from home
- FIRE Movement leader Grant Sabatier on how FIRE can help us succeed during coronavirus
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