and @Colette Martin-Wilde
, perspective from an "old" Millennial - 1984. (Remember, Millennials range from ages 25-40 at this point, that's quite a span in life experiences!)
I have been working from home for almost six years with Rotary, so have seen it from both sides of the pandemic. I can honestly say I have created and maintained relationships with colleagues when I was the only one working virtually (miss my work wife, @Carissa Coons
, who I have met in-person less than 10 times!), and then again when everyone joined me back in March 2020. It has been really interesting to see the difference between the "before" and "after." I have definitely felt closer to my team during the pandemic, because we were essentially all on the same playing field. I never felt purposefully left out before, but there are things you just miss from hearing the side convos in the cubes, elevator/break room chatter, walking to/from meetings. It's hard to build camaraderie that way.
Now that everyone is virtual, I feel like I don't miss out on much. I will say that you do have to put yourself out there and take risks more, which can be make you feel vulnerable. Will they like the GIF I send? What if I use the "wrong" emoji? Will I be judged on my spelling mistakes? Will they think I'm a dummy if I still don't know how to use the mute button after 18 months? It's sort of like a non-romantic version of online dating. (That being said, I did meet my spouse of seven years through OKCupid - before all the swipe left/right nonsense, I might add! - so I guess this is my jam. 😊)
I was once attending a webinar and the speaker shared that while she brings her authentic
self to work, she does not bring her whole
self. I think there's a marked distinction there. And, I agree with @Alison Randall
- I also acknowledge my immense privilege in that I have always felt comfortable bringing my authentic self to work. But even so, I typically do not bring my whole self. There are some things that not everyone at the office needs to know about my life, even though I'm generally an open book and not ashamed about any part of my past, present, or future self. It is one of the reason why I am not connected on social (outside of LinkedIn, of course) with anyone who is a current colleague.
I wonder, like @Quinn Drew
, if we can keep this same attitude going when we return to the office? I think that will be a whole new transition and phase that we'll have to navigate together.
ETA: I recently watched this mini (4 minutes) TED Talk about why you should
bringing your whole self to work. Great message here. Featuring Dan Clay/Carrie Dragshaw. Why you should bring your whole self to work | The Way We Work, a TED series
And, I think my separation of personal/professional life comes from my propensity as a Millennial to achieve a work/life balance
. I can't speak for my Gen Z colleagues, but I have read many times they prefer a work/life blend
. Would love a Gen Z to chime in!
Sent: 08-03-2021 09:19
From: Colette Martin-Wilde
Subject: Return to the office - Another take on authenticity , environment and WFH
Identity Crisis - Korn Ferry
The crux of this article is that working from home has allowed us to be more ourselves at work because our home environment. It has given us "permission" to be who we are. Our homes are an expression of our truest selves and reinforces that truth of who we are. It is our most comfortable space. Office environments are standardized in part to "homogenize" the workforce and reduce frictions to promote productivity but fall short for inclusiveness and diversity. Work from home (WFH) is, by its nature, more inclusive than the office. What we've learned from WFH about people, authenticity and productivity and how employers act on these lessons will be the test for the near future: will they choose "same old, same old" or try to build on what's been learned to get closer to an inclusive, supportive, productive and authentic experience for workers?
I'm curious what people think.
- Has working from home allowed you to be more yourself?
- Do you think that this might be a consideration as we go back to the office?
- Will the "rules of engagement" for employees change?
- What would you like to be different?
- What challenges do you see.
Asking everyone I can think of here: @Quinn Drew @Brianne Haxton @Alison Randall @Mhari Goldstein @Arnie Grahl @Maria Liccardo @Amanda Gose @Nicole Daines @Lindsay Griswold @Chris Weaver What do you think?