Adjusting to the New Normal

17/04/2021

It’s just been over a year since the pandemic hit the world population and took over our lives. Businesses and corporate offices have been continuously trying to adjust to the new normal- work from home. Even though this pandemic has resulted in major hardships, one of the most remarkable things has been the authenticity through which we communicate with each other. We have learned to communicate with greater sincerity, making an honest effort in understanding how others have been dealing with and coping with this crisis. We are no longer professionals who rush between meetings and have no clue about work-life balance; we have become individuals whose dogs bark during a video conference, or whose child interrupts a meeting because they are hungry. 

Having to put our true self out in the ‘open’ is the most comforting thing we see around us because we can relate and empathize with each other at a whole new level.  

The concept of Empathy is primarily putting oneself in other’s shoes, the ability to understand other points of view without personal bias, being aware of their feelings, and recognizing their needs. An empathetic leadership style can increase productivity, teamwork, and a feeling of respect and loyalty between co-workers. These few months have completely changed the way we work. It becomes practically impossible to hide our actual selves as the work-from environment is the opposite of our regular office workplaces. Transparency is working in a way that is building openness and honesty among the employees that leads to organizational successes. Employees are interacting more comfortably about their childcare, household, and other responsibilities and in response, the senior authorities are taking a step ahead, talking it through, finding appropriate solutions, and helping them work around it. Constant communication and engagement amongst teams is another factor that keeps their morale high. 

Team leaders are finding newer ways of virtual communication: Slack, Google meet, Zoom calls are just a few examples of the tools they use to engage with their employees. It becomes vital to keep the same or increase the frequency of virtual meetings as a walk to the employee’s desk is now switched with video conferencing. You need not always communicate formally; one of the best ways to do that is by encouraging a virtual happy hour. 

We all have been missing getting all decked up on festivities, game nights, or after-work parties at offices, so why not take advantage of the technological advancements and organize a virtual happy hour on weekends! Support a positive work culture in your team. Laughter, social conversations, jumping in to help each other, person-to-person conversations are the building blocks of positive work culture.  

Due to the pandemic, there has been particular negativity and uncertainty around us. We are all worried about our families, concerned about the impact on workplaces and the overall state of the economy, and are even more anxious than before which increases stress levels and irritation. Empathizing with one another will act as a catalyst creating a more positive and holistic work culture. There might also be a situation where one sees some signs of empathy fatigue. It can be exhausting to always be understanding and empathizing in every situation. Some might also be at a tipping point where all they want is results irrespective of the situation. A way to deal with this is by being transparent while communicating. If an employee is not performing, a team leader has to call on it, but an empathetic leader will ask “why” and provide a possible alternative. 

Supporting the wellbeing of your employees and yourself matters. Remind your people of the resources that are available for them like communication tools, services, moral support, etc. Ask them to utilize these resources. Show them that they matter and that you care. 

And finally, strike a balance between taking care of yourself and working for your organization because self-care is a step towards a healthy future.

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