I had an interview with a publication this morning and they asked a question that I've unconsciously thought about, but not put words to yet- "how has your work changed since the COVID-19?"
My answer: Besides working from home, how we work has changed. For years, the DEI industry has attempted to put the humanity in how we work. We've opened the floor for conversations regarding how we live, how we lead our families, and how we experience life. We've attempted to merge our home life with our work life. Well, now it's happening! It's full force and it's not slowing down! We are seeing our home lives converge with our work lives and instead of them seamlessly coming together, it feels like they are being layered, one on top of the other. In some cases, it's even worse than it was before COVID-19!
What leaders can do to help: Stop wanting work to continue as normal. Normal is no longer normal. School is different. Caring for loved ones is different. Getting groceries is different. Seeing a doctor is different. Socializing is different. Maintaining relationships is different. And I can definitely tell you this, being pregnant while all this going on, is different!
First, be human! Check-in with your teams and ask about their lives. What is their new normal? What new challenges
have emerged? How are they coping? What do they need to survive and thrive?
Next, be flexible! Is this deadline really the deadline? Is this task important or is it a nice to have? Can this be a meeting or an email? Does this need to get done now, or is it important that it gets done at some point? How can I be accommodating to this person's unique situation?
Lastly, assume positive intent! Do not take things personally. Emails and other messages utilizing text are easy to misconstrue. Assume that people are positively communicating with you and doing the best that they can given the circumstances. Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with others.
The only way we will get through this, is if we work together.