By Enrique Flores, Flores Law Group LLC
I recently saw a post from a colleague on social media that made me sad. The writer explained that sheltering had made the writer feel down. The lack of social interaction really got to this individual. After all, we all, either secretly or openly, relish the fight and the interaction that goes along with it. We see that antagonistic email on the morning before a hearing and we blast that one song that gets our blood pumping. What is my fight song, you ask? Anything by Barry Manilow. I mean, how could you not? Anyway, this colleague’s courage to reach out and say what we all are thinking, at least part of the time, got me thinking about my situation: and my conclusion is that I am lucky!
I am married to a wonderful woman who is also working from home. We get along and I am grateful for the extra time with her, even if it is in a separate room during work hours. I have a dog that, as I am writing this, wants to go outside to smell the same grass he smelled an hour ago and smells the same! But he keeps me active and distracts me. I have support and in a way, I am live support for someone else.
I have also noticed that our office has not slowed down, at least for now. The practice forces me to stay on task. The uncertainty of what the immediate future will bring takes me to my desk every day and tells me to keep going. Technology allows me to almost seamlessly continue working, while allowing me to stay connected with others.
Back to the colleague. I searched, “how to stay sane while working from home” on Google and discovered several scholarly articles on technology and efficiency. At first, Sara Robberson Lentz’ article Tips to Stay Connected, Productive and Sane While Working Remotely, published on UT Austin’s UT News, started off the same way. “The data on telecommuting is overwhelmingly positive;” “people who telecommuted actually had higher performance.” But, I kept reading and found a great piece of advice: "shared emotion is vital.” Her third tip in the article is all about empathy toward the other. She advocates for an emotional connection in a professional setting. The article is worth the read for this paragraph alone. It reminds us that our virtual interactions should not be void of real emotion. We care for the people we work with and we should show it every time we get a chance.
For all those that feel “lucky” like me, please know that some of your colleagues are struggling during a difficult time in what is already an emotion-draining profession. We are more connected that ever, so let’s use technology for more than business. Remember that there is always time for empathy. A quick hello or a virtual coffee can help tremendously. And for all those that are struggling: hello!
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