Working Remotely; the First Pivot

By Marci Mayer Eisen, MSW, ACC

Zoom calls, Go-To meetings, Teams, and webinars, have become the center of our work world. For those already working remotely, the technology is familiar. However, for those of us who spent our days in face-to-face meetings, the last 3-4 weeks have been a dramatic shift for how we think about our work and engage with others. As someone new to remote work, I’ve been curious to discover why certain webinars and calls are remarkably engaging and effective, others do not feel like a good use of time. Here are the five elements I’ve observed that all need to be included to ensure that the goals of the webinar or meeting are achieved and the participants get what they need.

·       Information – Staff and lay leaders want to understand how this health and economic crisis is impacting our own organization and community right now. What’s being done, who is making the decisions, how they’re making the decisions, and what’s next.

·       Appreciation – Hearing the leader or moderator/facilitator express appreciation, acknowledge how difficult this is, feels comforting and helps us stay motivated and focused.

·       Connection – We want and need to connect, both to those we previously interacted with regularly and to individuals and families we simply care about. Let’s keep reminding ourselves repeatedly, the human connection matters.

·       Inspiration – Judaism has the teachings and values to help us navigate this extraordinary time. A brief teaching, story, or shared value can give perspective to an overwhelming reality.

·       Direction – What are our priorities? What should we be doing more of? Less of? What’s next for our community, our organization, our programs and services, and my own work? Our situations are changing rapidly and we’re feeling vulnerable. It helps to hear what our leaders know now, even when the future is uncertain.

As a long-time professional, I want to conclude by saying to our leaders on whom the burden falls. As you’re taking care of your teams, your organizations, and our communities, please take care and be gentle with yourself. It’s going to get harder before it gets easier and call on others to give you the support and assistance you need o lead us through.

Marci Mayer Eisen, MSW, ACC, is director of the Millstone Institute and staff for JProStl, initiatives of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.