Community & Connections
Bringing in Diverse Perspectives During COVID-19
By Emily Krizmanich, CRI Staff, MA '21.
In a time of remote school and work, we are finding it harder to build community and connect with a diverse group of people than we ever experienced in person. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us to live and work in ways we never imagined possible. But what about human connections? How can we build community and bring in diverse perspectives while feeling so far apart?
BeTheChange.com addresses how individuals can take meaningful action during the pandemic to foster community and feel closer to one another. Their suggestions range from volunteering virtually to supporting local businesses, and each idea can create community connections. Human interactions are some of the main features of human life and the crisis has led so many people to feel alone and disconnected. An easy and often fulfilling activity is calling family and friends or joining one of many apps that connect you with new people. As stated on their website, "human connection is a critical part of mental health" (BetheChange.com). Since we do live in the digital age, many websites are offering free video calls, games, and movie screenings with hopes of better connecting to friends, family, and co-workers. Be the Change points to simple yet effective methods to build your community, right from your desk.
Another idea proposed by Be the Change, is to take a break from the screen, and check on a neighbor or lend a helping hand to those in need. During COVID-19, everyone is encountering challenges and a simple gesture can go a long way. A perfect way is to consider supporting your local business or restaurant. Consider supporting those places you love through delivery and pickup options or buy a gift card to use later. Even with the current situation, small actions and simple connections can help us build back what is lost. We are reminded that community still exists, and remains a critical aspect of human life, it just sometimes needs a little help.
In addition to losing social spaces, how can people come together and collaborate while working remotely? CapitolCommunicator.com discusses the importance of collaboration and workplace connections during this difficult time. Companies, schools, and everyone in between is seeing the impact of the disconnect. Teams are missing the luster of diverse perspectives and Zoom fatigue continues to be a growing trend. According to CapitolCommunicator.com, the best thing for us to do during the crisis is to embrace the uncertainty and new environment. A positive attitude about the situation can positively impact our work. Mark DeVito, President of Beyond Definition, also suggests that a focus on teamwork and support of one another can have lasting benefits on connection and collaboration in the virtual workplace.
With an emphasis on teamwork, CapitolCommunicator.com suggests that teams should "fill in the gaps" of communication. This means that all team members should feel heard and really listen to the group. In many ways, the pandemic has silenced voices, but that feeling can be diminished through positive and collaborative work environments where everyone has a voice.
The COVID-19 pandemic will go down in history, and it is important to remember that we are all in this together. It is easy to lose sight of things and focus on yourself, but also think of your community, friends, family, and coworkers. We can all use compassion and kindness, and hopefully, through these actions, we can all feel a little more connected.