Let's show our emotions

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It truly is a wild time. Wherever your emotions currently are between ‘I’ve got this, I will overcome’ to ‘I’ve just stared out of the window for 10 minutes thinking about absolute nonsense’- that’s ok.

In fact, not using your spare time to learn a new language, squeeze in a workout or develop a new skill is ok. Closing down your computer on time at the end of the day, despite having more to do, is ok.

You are in the midst of a global pandemic trying to make sure an organisation stays on track and your people are cared for. That is a lot of responsibility and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed, but there’s no doubt that as an HR professional you’ll be making a difference.

Despite tragedy and loss, I genuinely believe we can extract positives from the coronavirus pandemic. And no, not just a wider understanding from the c-suite that remote working is just as effective as being sat in an office. (Told you so, I hear you all say).

Welcoming co-workers virtually into our homes has meant welcoming the imperfect nature of the modern workplace and the human aspect of our careers. Workers are beginning to show real, genuine emotion.

They are asking ‘but how are you really’, commenting on the cat walking across the laptop or sharing home schooling tips. We are no longer work robots who fail to acknowledge that there’s a person behind the job title or email address, now we openly swap lockdown stories and tell each other to take care.

The threat automation poses to the job market is real and present, yet our previous way of working hasn’t done us any favours. The difference between machines and humans is our capacity to feel emotion, so why have we been keeping this out of the workplace for so long?

Emotion allows us to be more connected, encourages passion for the work we create and inspires care towards ourselves and others. If I had one hope for the workplace in a post-COVID-19 world, as a team of experts discuss at length in our latest HR Lunchtime Debate, then it would be for us to show more emotion in the workplace. Let’s encourage a kinder workplace, one which asks ‘how are you’ and genuinely care about the response that comes back.

Jo Gallacher is editor of HR magazine

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