COVID 19 – How to Stay Connected to Your Employer and Colleagues

  • Sari Friedman
  • March 19, 2020
COVID-19 Stay Connected

These are very challenging times. There are health concerns, routines have been uprooted and financial uncertainty is unsettling. Everyone should be prioritizing their health. Make sure you are meeting your basic needs, getting adequate sleep, exercising, eating nutritious foods and practising relaxation techniques. It is hard to feel in control when so much of this situation is unfamiliar and out of anyone's control. However, you can harness some control and experience some familiarity by staying connected to your workplace.

Why Should Staying Connected to Your Workplace Be a Priority

Connecting with others is beneficial to our health. Feeling connected to others at a time of uncertainty can be reassuring. Being reminded of the universality of what we are going through can bring some comfort. During this outbreak, we should safely stay connected to family, friends and people in our community – among those are our colleagues. Naturally, all of this connecting should be happening remotely as we are all doing our part with social distancing and flattening the curve to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Staying Connected to Your Employer & Colleagues If You Are Working from Home

If your role is amenable to it then it's likely you are figuring out how to work virtually. It isn't 'simple', but in your case it may be possible. You will want to connect with your manager to find out what the priorities are. Be sure you let your manager know what you need to fulfill those requirements. Perhaps you need hardware, software or a headset. Establish a routine for communicating with your manager and team. Your manager may have initiated that, but if they haven't you can ask them about having some regular meetings to review the status of your work and to stay connected to others. Formalizing this will likely be necessary as you are no longer just down the hall from one another. These are new circumstances and it will be crucial to develop norms for this interim situation.

If Your Work Can't Be Done Virtually, You Can Still Stay Connected

Most people's work likely cannot be done virtually, but you should still make an effort to stay connected with your employer and colleagues.  It may seem less natural if you are not actually conducting your duties, but there are other reasons to communicate. Perhaps your organization has an intranet or uses Slack where people regularly interact virtually. Typically, much of this may be about the work itself, but at this time, you can set up a channel or conversation thread with tips on coping strategies and keeping busy. This approach will require some leadership to ignite but it is likely that once you put it in place, people will welcome the opportunity to remain affiliated with their colleagues.

*     *     *

Your first focus should be the health and basic needs of you and your family, but if you have room for more, consider prioritizing communication with your employer and colleagues. Put in the effort to deepen your virtual connection to those members of your community. You will likely find and provide much needed comfort through those connections.