Blog post written by Valéry Brosseau
There is a lovely quote attributed to anthropologist Margaret Mead. She explains that the earliest sign of civilization is a healed femoral fracture, showing that early hominids cared for their injured.
My research tells me this anecdote, though powerful, is fabricated. I can, however, tell you of other similar examples.
The earliest healed fractures on a hominid are probably from Croatia during the Middle Paleolithic, about 130 000 years ago. This finding tells us that Neanderthals cared for their injured and ensured they survived.
As early as this, before modern humans, hominids were social creatures and, to an extent, dependent on their social group for safety.
It can be extrapolated from this that Neanderthal social systems likely provided individuals with emotional support.
Neanderthals either went extinct or assimilated into the modern human gene pool and modern humans became more and more numerous, but the same pattern persisted. We have drastically altered the face of the earth with accelerating leaps of technological advancements, but in 130 000 years, one thing has remained the same.
We need each other.
Our evolutionary process’ constant is the connection between humans and the benefits of living in organized groups.
Here’s where I’m going with this. For the past year, we have felt increasingly isolated, lonely, and cut off from our circles at home and work. Handling isolation is not in human programming.
I guess that for at least some of you, isolation and loneliness have been the most difficult parts of this pandemic.
As we begin to reopen and return to the workplace, how will you find a connection again? How will you get back to a routine of discussing, networking, offering and accepting support?
Here are some things to keep in mind as we return to a collaborative and social workplace:
- Shorter but more frequent connections: Zoom fatigue is real. Video calls are a different way of engaging, and they can be exhausting. We are all drained of two years of video calls. Now that we are starting to connect in person again, we may feel like we’re not sure how to anymore like it’s awkward and different or requires too much energy. Do not be afraid to keep meetings shorter and find moments of connection more frequently but for a shorter time. This technique will help you build back your social endurance.
- Find gratitude and share it with others: Gratitude can help us find more happiness and connect more with others. Try finding appreciation for three things each morning and three things each night. Write them down if that works for you. If you are grateful for someone, let them know. A text or a quick phone call will do the trick, and it isn’t necessary to dive into a long, drawn-out conversation. But who knows, that one piece of gratitude may create a moment, and you’ve been talking for two hours next thing you know.
- Don’t push your feelings aside: When you’re feeling lonely, put a name to that feeling. Be honest and self-aware. Don’t tell yourself you’re tired or stressed and then push through more work or put on a happy face for the people around you. Name your emotion, acknowledge it and check-in with yourself about how it feels. Once you face the emotion and take the time to process it,
you can figure out how to help yourself feel better.
The pandemic has changed how we view the workplace and how we conduct our work routines. Teams have had to get creative in communicating, staying in touch, and collaborating. It may feel overwhelming and challenging to navigate as we return to the workplace. It may feel our old habits have been replaced, and we can no longer comfortably fit into an in-person workplace. These tips will help you reconnect.
If you would like to know more how Berriault and Associates can help with the re-introduction