Communicating with Intent

The world has changed dramatically this year. Who could have predicted that phrases like “socially distancing” and “slow the spread” would become part of our national vocabulary, that we would wear masks in our daily life or that most children would be taught through distance learning? Many people have felt a sense of generalized anxiety throughout the pandemic, with one study showing 45% of American experiencing distress in April. Many are grieving for the lost sense of “normal”.

State also has changed. Today, 85% of our team works from home and don’t see their co-workers or supervisor in person. Our Info Meetings and even the Annual Banquet are being moved online while Yammer has replaced office events and outings.

At the same time, our core values at State have not changed. We are still a work family that is providing empathetic care to patients as they navigate a complex and sometimes confusing healthcare system. We are providing much-needed revenue for our healthcare clients. We continue to connect with one another as teammates and are thriving as an organization.

As we navigate all that has changed, it is critical that we are intentional in our communication with one another. Given our physical distance, it is important that we respond to requests quickly and carefully select the most appropriate communication channel. Email and Teams Messenger can be easily misinterpreted when non-verbal cues aren’t present. For difficult or complex communication, consider whether a phone call or even a video call would be more appropriate. Make every effort to respond in at least one business day so that no one jumps to incorrect conclusions to fill the vacuum.

Even as we each manage our own emotions through this turbulent time, our values require us to thoughtfully choose our responses and tone. We also need extend grace to one another for their communication. Now more than ever, let’s give one another the benefit of the doubt instead of jumping to a negative conclusion when we don’t have all of the facts yet.

Now, more than ever, we need to function as a team. Make a point to reach out and connect with teammates, offer assistance where appropriate and continue to build relationships even though we can’t meet over the water cooler.

While our communication is important all of the time, let’s put extra effort into communicating well with one another, especially while we are separated.