top of page

Embracing the Great Awkward

After several frustrating re-entries to work, we reflect on what we’ve learned and how we can navigate a "new normal" workday. There’s no one roadmap to help us charter this unknown but one thought leader’s professional ramblings have struck a chord.

On a recent podcast episode of Brené Brown & Barrett Guille, they called going back to work in the office “The Great Awkward.” Awkward in so many ways because two years of living like a recluse can mess with one’s interpersonal skills. Brown, with this podcast, has given us a guidepost on how we, even with unsteady legs, can move forward.

Brown has pointed out that we are neuro-biologically hard-wired to be in physical connection with each other. For two years, however, we rewired our minds to think that a single handshake or a hug is now a gesture that could cost us our lives. We have learned to live at a distance – all 6 feet of it.

Come 2022, physically going back into our offices would be the easy part as we’ve been waiting to end the feeling of isolation and pressure of being everything all at the same time —especially for parents and those with partners. However, with the way we've been living and our persistent fear for our safety, expect to struggle when we now have to be in the same space as our colleagues.

It's going to be "weird." We will encounter another set of difficulties and challenges as we try to reconnect in a new way and be faced with a new reality that we will, for a time, still be untrusting of one another.

If somebody coughs, a situation Brown and Guille gave as an example, who's to say no one in the office will be internally panicking the whole time? How do we communicate with employees who show up to work feeling a little sick?