How much of your time is now consumed with sorting out the logistics of returning people to your shared physical space? I suspect as much as was consumed with getting everyone working last spring. I know the logistics of spacing and timing of arrivals and departures are getting a lot of your attention. There is another aspect to the return that is significant – the well-being of you and everyone else in your organization.
While we spent the past year feeling safe and certain about our health, we also experienced high levels of isolation and disconnection from the culture and community of the places we are employed. New habits were formed that gave us coping mechanisms and also raised our anxiety and depression levels. The confluence of emotions is exhausting and that is now showing up as burnout.
As leaders in your organizations, what can you do? You want your team back in one place to enjoy the camaraderie and remind everyone the benefits of collaboration and connection. Your folks are resistant to returning as they have acclimated to remote working and have confidence in the new environment they are in control of. Another confluence.
What are you pursuing to develop resilience? And, why would you pursue it at all? Resilience is the ability to adapt and respond to changing circumstances. We build resilience in small ways, slight adjustments to schedules, workflows, workouts, as a few. Your body benefits from diversity in your workout so there isn’t a reliance on the same muscle groups while others are ignored. The same is true in your mind. When we seek our answers through technology rather than thinking and pondering in our minds, we grow one muscle, and allow another to diminish.
Consider trivia sessions for lunch ‘n learns as one option to develop resilience. Consider meditation or breathwork for your personal growth of resilience. Wear ‘hard’ pants when you next work from home or switch the wrist for your watch or bracelets. All of these are ideas to change the status quo, the habit, to give your psyche a little jolt and build a better base that can respond to unpredictable situations.
Obviously, resilience isn’t going to bring everyone back to your shared space. Although, it does provide a useful skill for those difficult days when projects are more challenging, help is harder to find, or the commute isn’t the usual. Most of these are things we didn’t deal with in the past year, which only focused our “muscle growth”, aka resilience, to one specific avenue.
Leaders need resilience more than ever. Invest in yourself and bring awareness to where you are flustered easily, where anxiety grabs you, or where you want to crawl into a hole rather than have a conversation. Then, spend time making little moves toward that thing. Small steps that will make big strides.
For more information and further reading on Resilience, visit our online library.