After attending a Team Developmental workshop conducted over Zoom, where one of the activities asked participants to share how they were feeling at that moment, I noticed that a lot of people were more honest and open. Well in my opinion at least, majority of the people in attendance were willing to bare their feelings and share them out in the open in the cover of anonymity via the mentimeter survey platform.
Looking at the words which appeared as the presentation refreshed itself, 80% were associated with darker and heavy emotions. This is in contrast with results from past activities conducted by the Firm, pre-pandemic, where everyone was present in a single location and not connected virtually. In past activities, colleagues would usually dole out more positive words to describe their emotions instead of actually sharing that they feel anxious, depressed and lost.
To be honest, the change in the tone of these colleagues of mine brought a rather refreshing feeling. For once I actually felt that they were more human. Their aloofness pre-pandemic was suddenly absent and I wonder whether it was because we were all just virtually present and not physically present in one confined space. It made me think whether people’s tendency to judge and accept judgement is diminished by virtual connectedness.
In all my interactions with people from the Firm, this was the first time I felt that people were authentic and sincere. Weird right? But that was how i felt earlier and several questions started to surface. Are we more authentic in a virtual space than when we are in a common space where we are physically present during interactions? Is this how people have come to cope with the current world situation where physical distance is increased and physical interactions have been restricted?
I can’t really answer and I’m not even sure if all of these observations and thoughts are remotely accurate. But after mulling it for a while, I can only say that perhaps due to restricted interaction, people’s desire to connect, to vent, to not feel alone, to be seen for who they really are and to find solace in their moments of disorientation while coping and navigating through the new normal because of the pandemic, a lot of people are overcoming their hesitation to baring their feelings. These feelings overflow and spill. Maybe this is also human instinct at self preservation, a way to adapt so as not to drown in all the negative feelings and emotions that have suddenly bubbled up due to the quarantine and social distancing.
I guess this is a good thing…