When COVID hit, the world as we knew it changed within a couple of days.
First, everything shut down. Most countries had to quarantine, then the way we did business was radically turned upside down.
We were, and still are, partially separated from the people we love and could not visit anyone outside our 4 walls for an unknown period of time.
All for the sake of the good – imagine if we would not have done that!
The bittersweet aftertaste of regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus concerns a basic human need though: the nature of the human connection, interaction and the human touch.
Many people experience major constraints in their natural behaviours, such as shaking hands and exchanging hugs.
No Pat on the Shoulder
It is difficult to think now of NOT giving recognition with, as an example, a pat on the shoulder when someone did a good job. This was one thing that I heard from a sports coach working with children. Not to mention to train the kids physically distanced and not high-fiving with their fellows and not goofing around.
It’s hard to think of not hugging a friend you haven’t seen in ages.
We have to constantly be aware to keep distance unless we are wearing a mask. And when we are wearing masks, people are missing the reactive behaviours such as the much-appreciated human to human smiles. The visibility of our “speaking face” is restricted.
Some of us are feeling a bit disconnected from our human habits to be close to people.
And that is ok.
We are for sure tired of hearing about COVID, going back to work, the new way of doing business, et cetera.
But we should not forget that we still have the restrictions in our human interaction and we don’t know when this will change back to “normal”. People may change the way they see being with people while others will be back to the “before-COVID-thinking” in the blink of an eye.
The Balance Between Professionalism and Emotional Support
Although the human touch is a need for everyone, it is crucial to not lose sight of its meaning.
Staying professional in the way we treat our fellow workers is a sign of respect and trust in the other person’s capabilities to solve problems.
Nevertheless, there might be the occasional look for support in understanding and seeking comfort that we should not turn a blind eye to.
People go through different stages in their lives that will occupy their minds in personal or professional matters and it is important to catch them where they are, offer a helping hand and support a bit deeper than on a superficial professional level.
We all appreciate being recognized when we fight through a certain problem or situation, and when we feel being understood.
Emotional Intelligence is a trait that will gain more importance than ever before in a world of physical distance where words and empathy are replacing a proper handshake, a hug or a pat on the shoulder.
Don’t Become Emotionally Distanced
Having said that, it is all upon us as individuals to grasp the new way of interacting and find ways to balance distance and closeness between humans.
It does not matter if we are in our own personal environment or at work, we are still human and need the feeling of being connected.
Don’t shut the doors to the outside or people not in your circle because you are getting used to distance – you will see the value of connecting as something special in a world of a new virtual reality.
Gestures such as handwritten notes from the bottom of your heart showing gratitude and thanks to your colleagues, employees, contractors and clients will do a lot for recognition, support and warmth.
It all comes down to our much needed connection as a basic human need that thrives and motivates efforts in each way of interacting and communicating.
> What do you see as a special way of connecting apart from virtual in the offline world?
I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.