Supporting your colleagues is a moral and ethical duty of every person in time of need. Some may say that the source of support is just as important as the content of these comforting words. Then again, there are some thoughts that we don’t know for sure how much they can mean until we receive them.
The problem is that working from home makes these things difficult. Providing comfort is only important when it’s genuine and it’s a lot harder to distinguish this when you can’t evaluate one’s facial expression and other means of non-formal communication. Here are several tips on how to make this work.
1. Strike up a conversation
Funnily enough, a sense of loneliness is something that can be dispelled once we recognize that others are in a similar state. In other words, we start feeling less lonely once we figure out that others are lonely at the same time. Seeing as how a lot of people are in isolation nowadays, sharing experiences might help alleviate some of this stress.
Note: Just because people are working from home this doesn’t mean they are lonely. Just because they’re sitting behind the computer doesn’t mean that they have the time to chat.
Remote workers are probably facing more work than ever before. After a while, this can cause a burnout and a lack of energy. Keep in mind that organizing yourself to work from home isn’t a simple thing. A task that you could finish in one hour of office work may now take you 4 to 6 hours to complete simply because there are too many distractions at home. Try to organize digital working space in order to motivate your colleagues. Agree to drink coffee on zoom early in the morning and work the same hours. This will give everyone a sense of continuity.
Note: This is not for everyone and not all of your colleagues will see this as a good idea. Still, it doesn’t hurt to offer them this option.
3. Enlist on a course
Before you can help anyone else or set an example (something we’ll discuss soon), you might want to think about your own personal development. Sure, in trying to help others, you might help yourself but you should also invest in a personal development course in order to get a maximum effect. If you’re happy with the end result, you could even recommend a course to a colleague. With more first-hand experience, you’ll speak on this subject matter with much more authority.
Note: Improving your knowledge both through microlearning and courses is pivotal for self-growth. This is something you have to do in order to be able to help others.
4. Set an example
Inspiring others or even provoking them into a healthy competition can go a long way. By making this work, you may inspire others to try and emulate your success. If you’re working in the same position as they are, they might feel uneasy about the idea that you might outperform them. This will drive them to work extra hard. While this may seemingly add more pressure to the whole situation, it can also evolve into a healthy competition. Companies and HR sectors around the world are adapting and coming to the new ways of things, while constantly working on providing support and empowering the spirit and the mind of their employees.
Note: You shouldn’t deliberately try to provoke anyone. This type of “healthy rivalry” should develop on its own.
5. Respect their boundaries
Keep in mind that even when working from home, your coworkers have their work hours. Bothering them while they’re resting, watching their favorite show or spending time with their family is just like calling them when they’ve just arrived home from work. You need to respect their boundaries in order to help them realize that just because they’re working from home it doesn’t mean that they don’t have free time.
Note: If you have developed both professional and personal relationships these rules may not apply. Each interpersonal dynamic is unique in its own way.
At the end of the day, just by investing an effort, you’ll remind everyone that we are all in the same boat. By helping others, you will also help yourself cope with these issues. First, helping others makes you feel better about yourself. Second, it strengthens your bond with your coworkers by quite a margin. In turn, it creates a healthier and more supportive work environment. As always, doing a favor to others creates a sizable return.
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