Connection during a pandemic
I live in one of the hottest hotspots during this Covid-19 outbreak; it is an unsettling and anxious time for everyone. While trying to manage my own emotions during this time, I am also needing to calm my staff.
It's a lot.
I am also an extreme extrovert who loves to be with other people. I draw energy from being with people...and as my work life has transitioned abruptly to 100% remote work AND my social outlets have been closing, one by one, the sense of isolation has at times been a bit suffocating.
So what can we do to forge connection and acceptance of this new reality during this time? Here are some things I am trying:
1. Daily Dance Parties
A colleague and I meet every day to rock out to one stress-relieving song. We are unabashedly goofy on camera.
Thank you Beyonce, Michael Franti, Lizzo and others for getting us down...and our spirits back up.
2. Virtual Happy Hours
Prior to social distancing and working from home, I had hosted a weekly "wine down" in my office. Why should a pandemic change all that? Last week,we were treated to a tour of someone's wine cellar. Next week, we are going to try playing Heads Up together. The real benefit has been that we have been able to stay in touch. And laugh together.
3. Book Clubs and Coffee Breaks
Once we went to remote operations, the first thing we did was to move our work book club to a video call. It worked remarkably well and in some ways, between the on camera feed and chat, the format seemed to spur greater participation. We did not (and would not) mandate that everyone turn on their camera since not everyone feels comfortable with it or has a space that they are not having children/pets/etc walk through. But we will definitely do this again next week. Winner!
My own team is globally dispersed and we are already used to "cameras on" team meetings. That's been a plus during this time of remote operations.
However, around Pi Day the parts of the team that were co-located were going to go out for pizza together. Since we couldn't do that in person, I had everyone order in (if they felt comfortable), and we all ate and chatted in real time. I had to drop off the call early, but was told by the team that they really enjoyed it and want to do it again. So I set up a weekly coffee break where we can grab a beverage, log in, and talk about anything other than the virus. Let's see how that goes.
What are YOU doing to forge connection during these disconnected times?