Say Yes to Physical Distancing, No to Social Distancing

As we confront the Coronavirus, physical separation is essential, a non-negotiable strategy. Social distancing is the opposite: unnecessary and complicating. We mustn’t confuse the two.

In her now-famous Ted Talk, Brene Brown states that human beings are social animals. We fear disconnection and isolation. The idea of distancing ourselves socially runs contrary to our most basic instincts.

In this surreal moment, our world needs social connection like never before. Connection, Community: the new Vitamin C.

If there’s a silver lining to all of this, it’s that the channels for bridging social distances are firmly established. Virtual communications platforms like Zoom, Hangouts, WebEx, FaceTime – the list of options is long. Each of us has access to several of these avenues.

That’s what they are: avenues. Virtual roads that bring us to each other’s homes and hearts. We owe it to ourselves and each other to get out virtually and visit the people in our lives. They need us and we need them.

For companies everywhere, now is the time to step up. The one glaring fact in Edelman’s 2020 Trust Study is that people trust their companies more than ever. Trust is the foundation of connection. It’s the antidote to the feeling of distance. Because of this trust, it’s companies that possess the remedy to the separation that ails us.

Virtual, live communications are imperative to the health and well-being of employees, of culture, and ultimately business continuity. Those organizations that allow the sense of distance to permeate their people will find themselves sick long after the virus has subsided.

Physical distancing should not mean isolation. In our practice at Decker, these past few years have seen extraordinary communications and training experiences delivered live and virtually. There’s a richness and functionality to today’s remote communications platforms that few are aware of. The truth is that the solution space for virtual communications has more potential than most people realize.

For companies, this isn’t a question of “winners and losers,” “advantage or disadvantage.” Rather, the challenge at hand is connection vs isolation, engagement vs detachment, community as opposed to solitary.

Employees crave leadership through the fog of pandemic. Physical distancing is a must. Social distancing may be the worst strategy anyone can adopt. The more we feel apart, the greater the losses will be.

This too shall pass. When it does, who will your organization be? A more grateful, more committed group or a shell of their former selves?

Which will you be?

 

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn

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