There is quite a lot of anxiety going around right now. It’s hard to ignore. We’re all going through what experts call collective trauma. You can see the effects firsthand during customer calls, in LinkedIn posts and all across our community at large. I personally spend evenings and weekends working at our local crisis centre listening to callers whose voices grow more distraught by the day. The common thread I’ve seen is how we are all adjusting to new forms of social connection and building new habits and routines at home.
I’m no psychologist, but an undergraduate degree in Psychology and 450+ hours of crisis intervention experience have taught me human connection is pretty important to people. Mental health research shows connectedness is a strong protective factor for those feeling pain and hopelessness.
Improving our connection with others helps connect us to our jobs, interests, projects and sense of purpose. In this article, I want to share 3 tips on how we’re fostering connection as a team to help reduce remote work anxiety during these trying times.
- Engage with your Entire Network
In the past few weeks we’ve seen organizations put on webinars, publish long posts and — perhaps a few too many — live streams. As a team, we not only started to reach out and talk to our customers but also our networks to see how our peers are doing.
Everyone is affected by anxiety differently, so it helps to put a Google Doc together to brainstorm how we can be most helpful with our time and resources. Not to our surprise, many of our customers and partners are following suit. I’ve personally reconnected with peers and former colleagues and it’s been quite refreshing. If challenges show us anything, it’s our shared humanity to help one another and empathize.
- Connect with Your Team
While some may be used to working permanently from home, not being in the office regularly is new for others. In addition to a regular 8:30am standup, we’ve set aside 30 mins at 4:30pm every day to meet as a team, discuss wins, challenges and have some fun. Every day someone is responsible for an end of day activity. That could be asking everyone to name their favourite sports team, artist or to wear a fun hat to the next meeting.
Our VP of Engineering, Ernesto Valdes, has also blocked off 30 minutes every Thursday at 8AM where anyone can join and have “breakfast with Ernie.” This is a lighthearted, fun way to start the day and see what everyone’s cereal of choice is.
One of our AEs, Perry Finnabogason, hosted Trivia on Zoom last week and we all learned how much he loves movies featuring Miles Teller.
- Spread Positive Stories
The market is hungry for positivity. We are consuming news that’s centered around one topic. This isn’t to say we should ignore what’s happening but being glued to negative news is not healthy for anyone. For example, it’s comforting to see the founders of Saastr/Gainsight share their insights of how they came out of the ‘08 crisis or John Krasinski’s lighthearted Some Good News channel which takes submissions on positive stories happening right now. Spreading positivity lifts everyone’s spirits and makes getting through the challenges a little easier.
Engaging with our networks, connecting with one another and spreading positive stories are actions we’re taking to reduce anxiety. There’s tons more going on out there. What are we missing? How are you creating positive connections with your team & community? Share a story with us on social media.