Are We Going to Be More Connected After Covid-19?
During the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have been working from home, taking zoom calls and video conferences to remain connected.
Aside from the physical space that these meetings are taking place in, there’s another big difference – our personal lives, for we have never been more seen by our colleagues and peers.
You can’t ignore the kids in the background; the dog lovingly sat beside his adoring human, or the cat trying to climb over the keyboard to get some attention. Each of our personal worlds has been opened for our colleagues to see. And while this may sound a little scary, we think it might be the start of better workplaces.
A place where we don’t just see each other as a ‘role’, but instead for the multifaceted, interesting people we each truly are.
In the workplace, we have a tendency to place a mask over who we are and what’s going on at home. It’s not been the ‘done’ thing. And this sense of ‘professionalism’ has limited our ability to connect with each other on a much deeper level.
Instead we ‘play’ the role, we do our jobs, and often leave our personal lives at the door; not wanting to come across as ‘unprofessional’.
But this bad habit we’ve got into has led people to feel unhappy at work, unfulfilled and disconnected.
How can we be our most creative, use our initiative, and do all those other very ‘human’ things we’re naturally so good at if we can’t bring our full human selves to work?
It’s like diluting a drink so much you can barely get a taste of what’s in there.
If we want to nurture people to create incredible work, be driven and motivated, we need to allow more human connection in the workplace.
As humans, we simply can’t be fully engaged in a mission, if it doesn’t make us feel something. Every goal in our lives has ignited something in us on an emotional level to make us want to do something. And that’s exactly why more organisations need to allow us to be ourselves at work because otherwise, no-one will want to move towards that goal. Instead, they’ll ask why?
We need to feel moved to act.
Nurturing an Authentic Culture
Authenticity has become a common word gets thrown around in the people and culture arena.
Staying true to yourself and what you believe in is an integral part of being authentic. This has to ring true for everyone in the company.
You can’t have some in and some out, if you want to really create a place where everyone feels comfortable to just be themselves, the rule has to apply to everyone.
We can no longer ignore that life happens outside of work. To dismiss someone’s life experiences is to say that you don’t honour the person they are, but only the job they fill. Isn’t that a depressing concept?
Old Habits Die Hard
The trouble is it’s not all our fault that we’ve built workplaces that encourage us to put work over life. It’s a hangover that we’re still recovering from thanks to the work-mad era of the ’80s.
Even at parties or social gatherings, the first question we still ask someone is “what do you do?” – as if their role will give you enough information about them to make a decision on what kind of human they are.
Now that we’re connecting on video calls and can’t ignore people’s lives going on in the background, maybe it will force us instead to ask deeper questions and more personal queries that allow us to share and connect better?
Work is part of life, and life is part of work. If we keep trying to build walls between them, we will only create spaces where people feel trapped and emotionally stifled.
After all of this is done, I certainly hope that more organisations will take into consideration the true human need of their teams.