“Hey, why have you not done this? How many times do I have to tell you? You are still not doing it. You need to take ownership of your work. My work is not easy.” – Well, I have been hearing a lot of this across chat conversations and e-mail exchanges between co-workers.

The many signs of WFH fatigue are clearly setting in.¬†After more than 365 days of adjusting to the blended work-and-personal environment, many don’t realize that their communication tones have altered, and those of who have been on the receiving end of these, tend to emit “I-hate-you-and-I-want-to-quit” vibes. When it comes to employee happiness levels, pay scales don’t really fall on top of their list.

It is NOT OKAY. Corporate cultures may vary with countries. But empathy is a basic human trait and that shouldn’t vary with the land. I guess most of us would have that experience where our teammate, manager or anyone else would have failed in providing us with that empathy when we needed it the most. In my case, it led to a relapse of a medical condition that subsequently required a 3-day hospitalization.

But that experience has only made me more empathic towards others I know, be it at work or otherwise. I take to it like a fish to water. I recently had to face a colleague who was completely disrespectful in her approach to an issue. But I only let my manager know that what we needed right now is some empathy, especially in these critical hours. It makes no sense to talk about E when it is not practiced.

E-mails and chats can usually trigger misunderstandings, much more than intended. The lack of face-to-face interactions can also impact us tremendously in a negative way. After all, as Homo Sapiens, we have been hardwired to thrive in social settings. I sleep in the same space that I work in and I should admit that it has been a nightmare. When you feel things are overwhelming, it is always best to identify your first point of stressor. I know work stresses me out and I do take time off from work on some days and that rejuvenates me.

When a co-worker is struggling with work, you could offer to help, if you have the bandwidth to. Or perhaps the nicest thing you could do is to drop a ‘ Hey, how you doing?’ chime to them. You never know, that colleague could land up becoming your best buddy for life! As a team, I would suggest – connect with your teammates, even if their work’s going well. And not just when there is an issue. This is something I have been witnessing in my team for a while and does make me pretty paranoid.

As a child, I have been told off many a times, just because I was thought to be ‘too sensitive. But that is what helps me pick up vibes that are unusually off for anyone whom I know. Yes, I am an empath by nature, at least to a large extent. As much as helping others comes to me, I also tend to burn out as much. What do I do? I disconnect from work right after I am done, or move away from my system for a while. In many cultures, there is a certain habituation to demand and get things done. Empathy statements are not easy to think of. You could look up for some here. Take it easy and slow. What you give is what you get back. You do not have to be the perfect empath at work, you just need to be able to take it easy on your co-workers in their tough times. The productivity results can eventually bring wonders!

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