Caring for Virtual Teams and their Emotions- In the stressful Covid19 times

Caring for Virtual Teams and their Emotions- In the stressful Covid19 times

Veena Sethuraman

TedX Speaker, Head Learning & Development, InMobi


Organisations across the world are facing immense stress in figuring out the way forward in these testing times. Working from Home or Virtual Teams is fast becoming the way. This can have it’s own limitations and fall outs.

So, sharing a few of pointers to ensure we are not just “solving” the problems; but, we are also equally hearing out each other, holding space for the people who are feeling low and co-operating effectively to see things through together.

1) Start and end the calls with “connection”

As you start the virtual teams’ video/audio calls, take a few minutes to talk about how each person is doing, instead of directly jumping to the objective of the meeting. Continuous transactional conversations over audio/video calls can make people more stressful and tired. Make it more humane. Crack jokes. Make it realistic. And make everyone feel “connected”.

2) It’s ok to be vulnerable

As much as we need to be courageous to see this through, ensure to be vulnerable with your team. Talk about any concern/fear/angst you have. Allow others to voice those emotions. While we may not have solutions for all these, just being heard on these lines can make people feel better. Don’t advise people “be brave”, “be cool”, “chill” etc….Instead say “it’s ok for you to feel this way”, “Call me anytime if you want to talk it out”, “I understand” etc. You don’t need to be the bravest person in the virtual room. In the absence of visible courage, it doesn’t mean the person is not courageous.

3) Explain social distancing concept to your kids 

For them to understand why you are at home all the time. Include them, when adults are talking about the various updates and news related to the current situation. Educate your kids on why precaution is necessary. Allow them to share their fears as well.

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4) Be sensitive

Different people will have different coping mechanisms to hide their fear and angst. Don’t trivialize any mechanism or crack jokes on others. Laugh at yourselves. But, be sensitive, when it comes to joking on how others are reacting to the situation.

5) Its ok to be not ok 

Don’t carry the pressure to be “positive” all the time. It’s ok to feel low. It’s ok to not pretend as if you are ok, when you are not ok. Voice it out. Share it with people whom you trust. And do not discount your “emotions”.

6) Be inclusive 

Not everyone is comfortable in participating and voicing in audio and video calls. Be attentive. Notice who needs more nudging and do so in a nurturing way.

7) Self-care 

Read books, watch Netflix, do group video calls with friends, sleep, cook your fav meal….Do whatever it takes to make you feel sane, better and belonged. Plan your work from home, not to keep you busy, but to be effective; so that you can take care of your needs as well.

I hope, all of us come out of this phase feeling more connected ,despite the lock down and social distance. I hope, we will remember this phase for a long time to come with gratitude, for the love, support and co-operation we experienced.

I hope our earth heals from this really soon.


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