Monday, April 13, 2020

Inclusive behavior while social distancing - not an oxymoron.

By Jacqui Regenbogen, DEI Consultant

At first, the concepts of inclusion and social distancing seem contradictory. Despite today’s very real health need for us to keep physical distance from one another, psychologically – we need to be and feel connected more than ever to continue carrying out our philosophy of “people helping people.”

Here are some ways we can carry our inclusive commitment forward with our teams and colleagues during this time.

Start Meetings with Social Interaction

Research shows that people can feel isolated in virtual meetings that place greater importance to following a strict agenda than social interaction. When facilitating a virtual meeting, invite everyone to share how they’re doing before diving into business.

Starting from a place of connection can lead to greater engagement, more successful meeting outcomes and possibly even fun. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Appreciate Each Other

We’ve seen the genuine appreciation various leaders have expressed over the last few weeks for our continued efforts to push through. It feels good to be appreciated by them as we work through unprecedented times.

That said, are we practicing this with each other? Some of us are having to deal with a greater volume of work, while others are being redeployed to focus on other priorities. A sincere “Thank you” to a colleague can go a long way in showing you appreciate and support them during this time of rapid and frequent change.

Remember that Each of Us is Unique and Accept the Diversity in Our Reactions

Each and every one of us are adapting to a new normal in our own ways. And, how you respond to your new reality may differ from how someone else responds. Do your best to meet people where they are each day.

Acknowledgement of our shared humanity in our adjustment period is a gift you can give to each person you interact with right now. Remember to give your colleagues, and yourself, “grace space” and know that we are all doing the best we can to manage our work, family life, health, safety and finances during a global pandemic.