Due to the nature of my work, I spend a lot of time by myself preparing, thinking, creating. Never before have I felt less alone sitting by myself in my home office.
People who I primarily work with, reach out just to check-in on my health and well being – no other reason, just that. Unknown neighbours and people I have never talked to, smile at me and greet me on the street while I’m taking in fresh air during a walk.
The realisation that we’re humans
During an online meeting with one of my clients, he took a minute to take care of his little daughter. All she wanted was advice on the clothes she should wear, and to know if they’d go out on the bikes later. It took him just a couple of minutes to help her and be her dad – not the program manager on a business call. No harm done. No lack of professionalism. A simple, humane act in the middle of doing business.
Deutsche Telekom tweeted on their support channel @Telekom_hilft: we are still here for you, there might just be a meeow from the background of the home office.
This level of “being real people” is my vision for all of us in our work-life. I know that we’ve made a lot of progress in the last 15 years – but there is still so much more to gain.
Solidarity. Compassion. Togetherness.
These character traits aren’t just necessary to get through the current global crisis. They are what we need to improve our work life. The more we care for each other and the shared purpose, the fewer rules, regulations and control we need. Today’s situation shows which traits leaders really need to lead, and what managers need to look for in staff: humane and fair behaviour.
Currently, survival and protection of the weak are strong catalysts for behavioural change. We need to retain this feeling for when things begin to return to a sense of normality again – regardless of what “normal” may mean after this.
Looking out for each other and making sure that individual behaviour contributes to the bigger picture should become an integral part of behaviour in the business world, not just a mission statement. It should become something that determines whether people fit in, more than project performance or commercial success.
And maybe, just maybe, the reset that lies ahead of us will help us to overcome the purely commercial-driven business world and change our values. As businesses and as a society.
(Written amid the global Coronavirus crisis)