Guest AuthorNathan S V
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Each one, Reach one: candid conversations

By | Nathan SV | Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte India

A lot has changed over the past few months, including our temperament.

Meal munching and number crunching often happen together, meeting invites gherao your already packed day, deadlines get compressed into hours. One starts to resemble a mythological figure with multiple arms, wielding everything from a cell phone and laptop to a mop, a school exercise book, and a ladle. While you are it, your sense of balance is pushed into the background. Add to that, all the negativity and uncertainty that the pandemic is bringing us. It’s a potent concoction and it’s taking its toll.

Are there some simple things that we all can do, which can alleviate the extraordinary stress we’re going through: ever so often, give someone a call and ask them two simple questions, “How are you?” and “What can I do to help?” and  when someone asks you these questions, answer sincerely.

How do you encourage conversations?

Once upon a time at the office, friends could just catch-up over coffee and speak their heart out. Since that’s not happening anymore, a virtual replacement makes sense. You need to have a discipline to ‘chat up’. ( Look what the world is coming to !). We are all facing scheduling meetings these days. So a good way to increase the likelihood of people speaking with each other, is blocking off a few minutes in their calendars. For e.g. at Deloitte, all of us receive a calendar invite recurring every Friday, so that we could give our undivided attention to a candid conversation.

Differentiate between stress and distress

Talking about stress is great. It’s always heartening to know that someone was able to benefit by having a candid conversation with a colleague. However, it is equally critical that people understand if it borders on mental health issues. If a listener feels that they’re hearing something that needs professional attention, they need to direct them to a qualified counselling service, or to any other medium available. This is the domain of qualified healthcare professionals and should not be treated lightly.

How can conversations help organizations?

Purpose-driven organizations have always focused on the 360 degree well-being of their people. Many, including us, have a confidential counseling helpline, or have integrated wellness into their people strategy. However, in these troubled times, people themselves should play a central role in taking care of each other. At a peer-to-peer level, there is the added comfort to speak more candidly, like with a friend. And having someone just listen, free of judgement or preaching, can lighten the load a lot. This democratization of well-being can prove to be an excellent supplement to any programmed measures that organizations take.

Be well to do well

We distilled all of these thoughts into an internal initiative at Deloitte and called “Each One, Reach One”, as part of our focus on #EmpoweredWelbeing and are happy that our people have been taking to it enthusiastically. This happens every Friday when calendars are blocked for someone to call up anyone and have a chat. Currently, a lot remains unanswered about when we’ll return to BAU, or what that will actually mean. The key lies in people’s well-being. Happy people deliver happy results. #StayHome, but also #BeWell, so that they can all make an #ImpactThatMatters. #WFM#OfficeTruths

Republished with permission and originally published at Nathan SV’s LinkedIn

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