In the managerial communications classes I teach, we cover lots of material on relationships with coworkers – subordinates, peers and bosses. Concepts like active listening, empathy, respect, teamwork and clear communication are essential components in effective workplace relationships. (And in personal relationships!)
Our relationships and the skills to maintain them have been tried and tested in this pandemic era, however. Working virtually coupled with the stress of a pandemic is enough to strain even the best relationships. Your work BFF yelled at you in a meeting; you want to break up with your teammates; and your boss is on your last nerve. What can you do? Take a breath and give everyone a little more “grace and space” – including yourself.
People are struggling. The extra stress and anxiety COVID-19 has brought and wrought are very real. This extra stress and anxiety is on top of the normal, everyday trials and tribulations you and your coworkers are dealing with. Rarely are we ever fully aware of someone’s personal or homelife struggles when we only interact with them through work.
So, we should all acknowledge the pandemic has added a new layer of tension and hardship to the normal, Before Times stressors. In our work life, we need to grant everyone a little more wiggle room and show kindness. If someone is moody or misses a deadline, give them a pass. If you sense someone is feeling overwhelmed, ask how you can help. If you’re the one needing some extra grace and space, speak up. I think you’ll find empathy and understanding.