After a year of hosting these co-working sessions, I’ve hit pause for now. But I wanted to leave this blog online to explain the importance of connection! You are not alone so should you need support, please reach out to me anytime.
Original Blog Post in March 2020. Yes, we must come together to cowork online and combat isolation. It’s the only way. By now, we hopefully all know the rules and yet, it is new and tricky territory. Self-isolate, quarantine, social distancing, physical distancing.
I feel blessed to live in a country that I trust is doing its best to keep us safe and informed. And yet, the rumour mill and media are doing what they do best: creating a frenzy (whether intentional or unintentional doesn’t matter). That is to say, the frenzy can create a panic, fear and detrimental consequences to so many.
AVOIDING THE FRENZY
With people self-isolating in their homes, it means increased screen time. As a result, I’ve had to limit my own online time to protect myself. Specifically, I get trustworthy information from three sources. Firstly, from the Government of Canada’s website with Coronavirus updates and support.
Secondly, British Columbia’s Provincial Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has done a stellar job holding daily press conferences with coronavirus updates. I decided early on to forgive her for encouraging people to come to Whistler during spring break. Yes, you could hear a collective gasp in our community when that hit the airwaves. But that seems like a lifetime ago.
And lastly, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website. Other than that, I’ve lost faith in news sources providing me with the information that I need to stay well physically, mentally and emotionally. But that’s just me.
COME TOGETHER TO COWORK ONLINE
Yes, we all have to come together to combat isolation. And, this is a new way of connecting. Certainly, by following the rules dictated by our incredible health experts but also to keep hope alive. To carry on and run our businesses. To support each other. To connect with each other.
I’ve always been fortunate to have a global community of professionals in my world. As a result, I’ve been part of the trend for online learning and meetings. Certainly, I’ve considered bringing that format to my network over the years but my efforts to do so haven’t always been that successful. Until now.
CONNECTION IS ESSENTIAL
With a need to work from home and create social distance, people are open to fostering an environment of connection by any means available. You see, connection is essential. It is a human need. Countless studies have proven it.
In 2013, distinguished social psychologist and neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman wrote his book, ‘Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect‘ to prove why relationships are a central part of a flourishing life. In short, he confirms what Aristotle asserted long ago in his Politics:
“Man is by nature a social animal … Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.”
In other words, the time was right to bring virtual connection to my community. To share a wave of support and burst of productivity and plain, to spread the love.
So many reasons. We have already covered that connection is essential. We have also covered that we need to come together to combat coronavirus isolation and that it means more than doing what we need to do to keep it from spreading. It also means that we need to go on.
People are feeling isolated right now due to fears from the coronavirus threat or challenges from the global economy. Or both. Perhaps lacking motivation and focus while either working from home or in an office. Or you could just be feeling stuck.
Remember – I believe connection is essential and if we aren’t gathering in person quite as much, we can come together virtually. Through the support of an online co-working session, we can help alleviate the aloneness, amp up our individual productivity and hold each other accountable. Quite simply, it is coming together virtually for community, connection, support and accountability.
WHAT DOES ONLINE CO-WORKING LOOK LIKE?
Update – although I am no longer hosting these co-working sessions – they may return in the future. But, I wanted to provide a glimpse into what they looked like just in case you want to host your own within your network.
- Set up a day and time. Weekly, biweekly, monthly – whatever works.
- Use a link for online sessions – Zoom, Anymeeting, etc.
- Start off with a quick welcome and a dose of inspiration. I used quotes, icebreaker questions, inspirational cards where participants could pick a number and it shared a motivational thought.
- Break into focused ‘head down’ time for everyone to work on a project or task of their choice. Here are some ideas to ignite your thought process: clean out your email inbox, map out a strategy for a big project, food prep for the week’s meals, write in your journal.
- Have them post in the chat what they will be working on = accountability!
- I recommended that they minimize distractions to give themselves the gift of focused time. Turn off phones, texts, email if able to do so.
- Everyone is muted during work time and I monitor the chat for questions or conversation. They can also be off camera if desired but honestly, being on camera is part of the magic to work alongside people and to combat loneliness that can come from working on your own.
- People don’t have to attend for the whole time – have them join whenever they can. Encourage them to put these sessions into their calendar.
- Promote it to your network – send out an email, write a blog explaining what it’s all about (like this one), create a Facebook recurring event, get it on your website, create and schedule social posts, ask your network to share it.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, reach out to me here.
To sum up, if you want to know more about who is hosting these events you can check me out right here. I’m a community passionista that wants to do my part to create connection and community during this time of overwhelm.