Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, December 18, 2020

Career Corner: Reach out to co-workers in need this holiday season

We’re all ready for this year to be over. Most days have been painful as we watch the news and wait for things to change. It’s felt helpless and, at times, hopeless.

But, it’s beginning to look like we’re in the final stretch of this pandemic marathon.

With that in mind, try not to ignore the holidays. I know it’s tempting. You’re excited for January to be here. But you likely have at least one co-worker who is living alone. They aren’t near family. They aren’t married. They don’t have children. And for them, the holidays are going to be especially tough this year.

Work isn’t about taking care of colleagues emotionally. But, this year, we have to stick together. Making it through a pandemic is a team project.

Check on each other. Zoom meetings make normal small talk harder. Find time to chat about more than just revenue and goals. Ask how people are holding up – and mean it. Listen. Make a mental note if someone seems to be struggling. Check back with them.

Profitability is great, but the entire company will suffer if employee morale is low. And, we are all in this together – even on holidays.

Take the time to acknowledge this holiday season. It’s hard that we can’t all be together. I love those big fancy holiday parties. Getting dressed up and sharing cocktails with colleagues can be the best part of December. I look forward to them every year.

But even though you can’t have a big group gathering in person, there are other things you can do. Try activities like a Zoom holiday party. Or, send cards to each other. Perhaps you can have a virtual lunch with your team. Ask for ideas, and you may discover something creative that you hadn’t thought of.

Whatever you do, do something. I know it won’t compare. It won’t be the best party. And honestly, it might even be the worst holiday party you’ve ever thrown. But, whatever you do, it will be better than nothing.

Those people on your team who are alone will be struggling this month. It’s not that they “might” be struggling. They are struggling.

If you’re married or have children, some alone time probably sounds like just the luxury you need. But single colleagues have been alone since March. There’s a reason why solitary confinement is used as punishment in prison. It’s hard, really hard.

Your company holiday party or greeting card may be the only recognition of the holiday season your single colleagues may have. This is especially true if they don’t live near family, or if their family is older.

Take the time to celebrate just a little, and to find your holiday cheer. Give thanks. Although this year has been the most difficult, it’s also created strong bonds.

We’re all in this together, and very soon, it will be in person.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.