How to Make This Week a Little Easier for Your Team

Black woman on a video call for work, her face is not visible.
Photo: Grace Cary/Getty Images

On November 9, 2016, I woke up, heard the results of the presidential election, and immediately laid back down in my bed. I stayed that way for a while, thinking, “I have to be at work in an hour, but I’m not even sure I can move right now,” and then cried while showering and getting dressed. All day, as I did my best to push through, I wished someone, anyone, would ask me, “Is this meeting really that important right now?” or simply, “Are you okay?”

Fast-forward to 2020. We’re talking a lot about Election Day on November 3, but not so much about November 4, a day when many Americans will have to go to work and pretend everything is normal. It will not be. So, how can we prepare?

No matter your position, here are some things you can do right now to make this week kinder and easier for yourself and the people you work with.

If you’re a manager

Approve paid-time-off requests without questioning them, even if the requests come in at the last minute. Many people have already decided to take the day off, but some might not know how they’ll feel until Wednesday morning. Be prepared to say yes to PTO and not ask why.

Be mindful of the week’s workload, and make adjustments accordingly. Have a bunch of meetings and deadlines planned for this week? Reconsider them now. People will need time to process what comes out of the election results and take care of themselves. Your slide deck can wait.

Make space available, but make it optional. It may be helpful for some people to process the election results with others. Make the space for this to happen. But be mindful of how you set up this space, as it can end up being harmful to staff, specifically BIPOC, depending on how it’s facilitated.

Be vulnerable and transparent. This is not the time to pretend like everything is business as usual. If you’ve watched any portion of the news, you recognize that our country is literally burning around us. To not acknowledge this doesn’t do anyone any favors.

Be mindful of team and client interactions. Some of your team members may have to deal with clients, customers, or funders who’ll want to express their opinions, which can put your team members in harmful situations. Don’t let them deal with this alone. Period. The customer is not always right.

If you’re a business owner, coach, or creator

In addition to the strategies shared above, consider these other tips for this week.

Check your scheduled content. If it seems out of touch, it probably is and you should unschedule it. And remember: no black squares. We’ve been over this.

Monitor your Facebook group or other communities you manage for inappropriate comments, reflections, or verbal abuse of other members around the election results.

Don’t tie your sales strategies to the election. I’ve already seen things like “Get your spot by 11/3 before our democracy turns to shambles.” This is alarmist and tacky. Don’t do it.

Create space for your clients. Your clients may need you to show up differently for them. Instead of immediately jumping into business as usual, start off your conversations by asking, “How are you showing up to this space?”

For everyone

Take time off. Even if your company is not providing paid time off, if you need it, take it. Do so unapologetically. It’s important to protect your space and energy.

Move your body. Whether that’s strength-based exercise, yoga, dance, or punching a bag (not a person), take care of your physical being and release stress through movement.

Volunteer. It’s a great time to get away from your phone and spend time supporting others.

Start a group chat about nonpolitical topics. Implement one rule for the week: You can only talk about things outside of the election.

Schedule social media scrolling. For some of us, it’s unrealistic to not be on social media. Be proactive and schedule blocks of time to scroll, and then log off once your allotted time is up.

This week and beyond, it’s about self-care and team care. So, go vote, and then do what you need to do for yourself and the people you work with.

Committed to realizing racially-equity-centered workplaces for all BIPOC to experience and nothing less. IG: @dynastihunt

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