Covid 19

Unconscious Competition!

If you know me, you know I work in Occupational Health and Safety. Many of you reading this will be doing so from a “Makeshift Workstation” at home due to Covid 19 restrictions. Many of you at those Makeshift Workstations will be currently dealing with Unconscious Competition.

Unconscious What… you ask? Unconscious Competition is the fear that you’re not actually doing as well as the rest of your Team Members but you’ve no way of knowing. Therefore, you push harder, just in case.

Over the last 2-3 weeks I’ve seen this develop across many sectors where employees have no choice but to work from home. Without realising it they are working in a new Bubble. A Bubble that does not have Water Cooler chats, Tea Station meetings, quick team get-togethers or any of the myriad other ways that we keep track of how we’re doing with regard to our other colleagues.

The result is that I’m seeing people put themselves under significant stress because they think everyone else on the team is working better than they are and hitting all the targets while they are feeling unfocussed and lost.

So, my message to all the Homeworkers, Team Leaders and Managers is to talk to the Team. Yes, email them or use your in-house forums and workspaces to assign and review work but pick up the phone every day and talk to the team individually, not in a conference call. A conference call will be at a booked time and the Team Member will do everything to make sure the room is quiet for the call.

An individual phone-call won’t be at a scheduled time. Maybe it’s only a 30 second chat but listen to what’s being said, listen to the background noises of a family in isolation, listen to the tone in the person’s voice, listen for cues that maybe your team member is having difficulty.

If they are having difficulty, help them. If you are having difficulty, ask for help. In the office we’re all in the same boat heading for the same destination. In this situation we’re not actually all in the same boat but we’re all still trying to get to the same destination. Some of us have to manage families, pets, poor broadband, under performing laptops, wonky chairs and so on. And yes, some of us are actually dealing with illness as well.

So, stay connected on a personal level. Chat to the team and make sure they are all OK.

Derek Madden

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