The term community care comes from a community organizing background.
We’re asking: “How do I leverage my privilege, power, and resources to be of support to another person or a group of people? How do I support my colleagues, my loved ones, and community members during uncertain times and in a time when many of us are socially isolated?”
Here are three tips to get us started:
1. We want to be intentional about the way we meet and connect. Because many of us may be using technology, it’s going to be very easy to disconnect. There’s not a lot of human connection right now because we’re not meeting face to face. If we’re used to having phone conference calls, maybe there’s an opportunity to have video conference calls because that allows us to see each other, see how things are going, and see how people are feeling. Obviously we want to make sure that people have access to this and make sure that people feel comfortable doing so.
Another piece about checking in: I want us to really think about one-on-ones as a great opportunity to connect. A lot of times when we hear the term one-on-one we’re thinking supervisor-supervisee, but I want to challenge us to think about one-on-ones as just the way we connect on a day-to-day basis. Colleague to colleague, neighbor to neighbor, or whatever the case may be. Let’s say that you know your colleague is not the only one transitioning because of what’s happening, but you know that they also have their kids at home. One way to connect one-on-one is just by reaching out. Literally connecting with them and saying, “Hey, I know this transition might look different for you; how are you doing? How can I support you? How can my team support you?” These are great questions to get to know how you can move forward working together and make sure you’re successful.
2. Ask people what they need. It’s so easy to assume that because I’m okay, everyone else is okay. And we know through stats and through the communities that are being impacted that that’s not necessarily the case. You want to ask people what they need so that they are able to do their job, but that they also feel supported and connected with you. Let’s say that you have a colleague or employee that speaks with clients through video chat or phone calls, they might need stronger WiFi now because they’re sharing the space with many people in their home. Or maybe they need a desk and chair so they can feel comfortable when doing video chats with clients. All of these things are things that you’ll only find out if you ask people what they need.
3. Provide resources and need-to-know information. So the first part of this tip is to provide resources. The resources you provide will not only allow people to feel like they are supported, but that they can get work done. If you followed tip number two and you asked people what they need, those resources will be directly connected to what people said they need help with. The second part of this tip is to only provide need to know information. A lot of us are staying tuned to what’s happening around our world, and while that’s important, we want to make sure that we’re not bombarding people with so much information that people begin to feel overwhelmed or feel anxious. We want people to feel as safe and as healthy as possible. So let’s ask ourselves: is this information important? One way to figure that out is by asking if this is affecting them directly- as it relates to their livelihood, as it relates to their work. If not, maybe we don’t need to share that information.
You can also submit your DEI questions that we may answer as part of future #AskSGO videos at [email protected]