During a recent conversation with the Staff Advisory Council, colleagues expressed concerns for the future of our work at the college and shared feelings of loss as we have all lost access to our campus workplace as a source of community. Instead, we are dispersed to very different circumstances: some of us are reporting to campus for critical or essential duties, others are working remotely, and still, others are home with unfilled time because we cannot do our usual jobs from a distance.
Knowing this, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on how we can take care of ourselves and each other during such an unusual time.
No matter our role, our work life has certainly changed. Staff who are coming to campus are working alone or in smaller teams than normal. People working remotely are largely doing so from home while navigating demands on their attention from personal life. And people who cannot do their jobs from a distance have more downtime than usual—and maybe than they might want.
Dislocation is hard, but I want you to know that Williams is still here for you, and all of us are here for each other. This may be a moment to enjoy more time with family or by yourself, to learn a new skill or focus on professional development (HR is continuing to provide programming and one-on-one coaching, for example), or exercise self-care. We recently began adapting the college’s wellness program offerings and are creating new ways for BCBS members to earn the $500 wellness incentive to give you options in a very different time. To chronicle the reality of families being at home together, we also invite the children of staff and faculty to share their perspectives on families working at home, in drawings or words.
The crucial thing is to be kind to yourself: communicate any needs to your supervisor, accept that things are not going to run completely smoothly no matter everyone’s best intentions and efforts, and realize that we will get through this. When it finally comes time to return to campus, we will want to make time to process what has happened, too.
Meanwhile, I hope you will take this time to care for yourself and continue to connect with each other. With tempered expectations, a flexible approach and resourcefulness, you will be amazed at how you can adapt, and how we can emerge from this crisis as an even stronger and more collaborative community.
Take good care,
Danielle Gonzalez, PHR, SHRM-CP
Director | Human Resources