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But I want to Stay Home…

I’m a leader in my organization.  My dirty secret:  I’m not sure I want to go back to working the way that I was before the pandemic arrived.  I enjoy working from home where I am more productive and calm. I feel like a fake when I talk to my staff about how great it is to be returning to the office.

The pandemic has turned the entire working world on its axis, with leaders and staff alike facing significant changes in their working routines. Some leaders never stopped working from the office, some can’t wait to have the office bustling like before, and others prefer remote working and are feeling disloyal to their staff.

If you are getting accustomed to remote working – or if the thought of commuting to work every day, travelling in crowded elevators, or dealing with work colleagues who may not respect physical distancing is no longer palatable – then you have the same worries as many of your staff.  A colleague of mine sent me the following article examining the different kinds of needs and concerns that employees will face as we progress toward restarting normal working routines.

Reading this article reminded me that we are not all the same, including those in leadership roles.  Many leaders are experiencing the same internal conflicts and challenges that their staff are facing as they readjust back to their new workplaces (which are now very different than the ones they left in mid-March). Many are struggling with conflicting needs – to be around colleagues again without losing the sense of calm that comes with being more in control of their own day and working patterns.

Throughout the past several months, leaders have been focusing on demonstrating compassion and empathy for their people as they experience unprecedented disruption, fear, and heartache.  As a leader, you need to be generous and offer yourself that same compassion and empathy that you have been extending to your staff.  It may be appropriate to talk to your staff with transparency about your conflicting needs.  Their empathetic response may surprise you.  You, like your staff, will have to figure out what you can take from this time of isolation, learn from it, and incorporate the best of it into your work routine and practices going forward. You can best inspire others to do the same by role modelling this for your staff.  Be open to the possibility of revising the status quo upon your return, for your staff and for yourself.

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HR Atlantic is proud to present weekly publications connected to COVID-19. Please feel free to contact us to further discuss this article or any concerns you or your organization may be facing during these difficult times.

Written by: Kathryn Coll                                    Published: June 2020
Managing Partner, HR Atlantic                       All rights reserved