Using “love” to create a more harmonious return-to-work atmosphere

In Central Virginia, and across the nation, people are being called back to the office as we inch closer to our post-pandemic “new normal.”

It’s a place we’re used to, but no longer accustomed to, so it might take time for everyone to get back in tune with one another.

One big hurdle businesses will face as we readjust—whether employees were working from home or not—is increased incivility among employees, a significant cultural challenge that has taken hold across many aspects of society. To foster a work culture of civility and kindness, there are behavioral actions we can take to not only help ourselves, but also positively influence others around us.

In his book, Love Works, Joel Manby writes about several timeless principles that can help people get along better in the workplace, all revolving around love. One aspect Manby mentions was written about many years ago by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. Both describe love with an attribute that is becoming rare in our current society: Love is patient. For our cultural purposes today, patience is the ability to have focused self-control in difficult situations.

Those situations are apt to be plentiful as employees become reaccustomed to working together face to face.

A wise and caring person recently shared an acronym with me that I believe we can all use to increase our patience. That is to simply slow down and THINK before we speak.
In the heat of the moment, truly assess what we are about to share with the other person or people we are interacting with through the following filters:

• Is it Truthful?
• Is it Helpful?
• Is it Important?
• Is it Necessary?
• Is it Kind?

If what we are about to say does not fit the five criteria, then why are we saying it, or at the very least, how can we share in a more thoughtful way?

Some scenarios of this might be:
A co-worker makes a comment about the current COVID safety standards and mask guidelines. You happen to disagree, but will the comment formulated in your head truly be helpful? Is it important to share relative to accomplishing your work tasks for the day? Will it bring harmony or just cause discord?

How about the teammate who has anxiety about returning to the office, but others simply see their actions of constantly arriving late or finding an excuse to work from home an extra day or two each week. We may want to share an aggressive riff and demand compliance to the workplace attendance policy, but would it not be more effective to approach this performance conversation with a lens of kindness and a true intent to help?

As far as we all know, we only have one trip on this crazy ride called life.

In the end, it’s your choice. What kind of climate do you want to work in?

One where you enjoy the sounds of this season of regathering or one of isolation where you remain longing for connection? Why not add to the quality of life for everyone rather than adding to the incivility that abounds?

The band is getting back together whether we are excited about it or not.

Let’s use our hearts and our heads to share a little love and make it a great show for everyone.