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 I wish to share a good article by Ms Allanah Hunt on how to improve Empathy.

Hopefully those who have the opportunity to read this will gain some useful knowledge on improving their empathy.

Empathy is a very important skill. It helps us develop deep levels of rapport and trust, both of which are vital for the success of our relationships as well as our interactions in the workplace. Having poor empathy skills can lead to unnecessary conflict born out of misunderstandings.

In business, the key component to our success is understanding the needs of our clients, patients, customers or staff. If we don’t focus on ‘putting ourselves in their shoes’, we will make catastrophic mistakes which can lead to failure.

The dictionary describes empathy as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.

Understanding the importance of empathy and employing those skills are two different things. It is only when we act with true empathy that we can create connections that are long-lasting and real.

There are some instances where acting with empathy can feel overwhelming. It is important to learn how to balance our empathy for others with the need to take care of ourselves or we will burn out completely.

So what can we do to build empathy skills and improve our relationships with those around us?

Pay Close Attention

This might seem like a no-brainer but in truth, we are often so distracted by our mobile devices, what is showing on the television or our need to tell our own story, that we don’t really notice what someone is telling us. Just because you hear the words someone is saying, doesn’t mean you’ve heard them. Improving your listening skills will help you pay more attention to others and allow you to pick up on the emotions behind the words.

A great way to raise your ability to pay attention is to watch television with the sound off. In this way you can watch the interplay of emotions between the various characters and learn to pick up cues which will help you follow the story.

Distance Yourself From Stereotypes And Find Commonalities

We all have preconceived ideas about others based on the media, our peers and our own observations. But when it comes to individual interactions, we must put those aside and find a way to connect with others.

The best way to build a connection is to meet people where they are. Everyone has a story and if you take the time to listen, you might be surprised at what you discover. Sometimes the people we understand the least have the most to teach us.

Agree to Disagree

There may be occasions when you don’t agree with someone else’s view of a specific situation but where you can nonetheless recognize that empathy is required. This is particularly important when somebody is having a strong emotion and asking you to do something you can’t do.

Sometimes all that’s required is to listen and convey what is called cognitive empathy. It is possible to be authentically empathetic to show you understand what they are experiencing without having to agree.

Learn How To Respond

It can be very difficult to know what to say in response to someone, and to determine when to keep quiet and when to speak. Learning how to respond takes practice but a good rule of thumb is to simply acknowledge their feelings without giving advice. This is a hard one but the art of empathy is largely about ensuring that someone feels heard.

Practice saying statements such as, ‘I’m sorry this happened to you’. Say it several times to yourself in the mirror so that you can see the expression on your face when you speak. Watch empathetic leaders to listen to the tone of voice they use as well as their facial expressions.

In order to truly connect with others, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable and potentially show emotion in response to theirs. It is not enough to put on a face or modulate your tone of voice. Empathy is conveyed through feeling rather than the words we use.

Strengthen Your Connection With Yourself

It is impossible to show empathy to others if you don’t have a strong connection with yourself first. As you show empathy to yourself, you will develop the ability to truly connect with other people’s emotions in a way that adds kindness, compassion and understanding to their situation.

Think about times when you have faced a difficult situation and what you might have needed at that time. Did your friends and family show empathy? What did that look like? What made you feel supported or unsupported? If you felt unsupported, what empathy did you show to yourself that helped you overcome your own difficulties? As you explore this, you will begin to put together a clear picture of how empathy can help others.

Empathy is a multi-faceted skill that will require practice and the ability to be flexible. Not everyone will want the same response from you so it’s important to be able to recognize subtle nuances in someone’s posture, facial expressions and tone of voice. And it’s just as important to become aware of the time when even though someone seems to be emotional, they may not wish to interact with you.

Please reply back and let me know how this article was helpful to you <3

Wishing you an amazing day 😉

Allanah Hunt

Work From Home, a phrase which normally associated with people who use internet to earn some passive income and achieve financial freedom.

Before COVID-19 Strike

Well, that was before 2020, that was before the COVID-19 pandemic created a big mind set change in people conduct their business.

Last time when you told people that you worked from home, the impression given to people was:

  • you were not having a normal job,
  • you were using internet to earn a living, or commonly known as Internet Entrepreneur.

After COVID-19 Strike

Covid-19, a pandemic which forced a lot of businesses to close their office premises or operating outlets, since one of the effective method to contain the spread of this was to curtail the movement of human.

To do that, one of the effective way was to ensure the business outlets close their offices and business outlets.

Staffs need to work from their home so as to reduce the risk of getting infected while commuting to their work place.

With the advancement of technology, office staffs can actually use  internet to do their work, after all when they are in the offices, they are also using internet to access the required information or communicate with fellow workers.

In view of this, with most of the work done online, as long as you have internet connection at home, you will be able to carry out your work from home.

Why work from home?

Work from home reduce the human interaction and thus reduce the transmission of the pandemic through close contact.

Governments encouraged people to work from home, so that the public transports and the malls would have fewer people mingling around.

The New Normal post COVID-19

Therefore, nowadays with the new normal, Work From Home is no longer the privilege of those who earn their living having their businesses online and transacted through internet.

Now if you ask a person whether he works from home, next you need to know

  • whether he is working for himself or
  • he is just another office worker who has to work from home

So for those businesses whose staffs have to work from home, or can work from home.

What are the advantages and disadvantages you can derive from working from home?

Photo by Andrea Davis from Pexels

Pros of working from home.

1. Safer for the staffs who have to work from home.

They do not need to join in the rush to commute to office,  and get infected accidentally due to close contact with people who may be the carrier of the virus, or who does not know he is sick.

2. Businesses still can continue to operate.

Staffs are still doing their work even though they are not physically in the office to work.

3. Companies need less big office space.

By having staffs to work from home, companies suddenly find out -  they do not really need such a big office space to accommodate the staffs, hence, they can reduce their rental on office spaces.

4. Companies' save on utilities bills.

With most of the staffs work from office, electricity consumption will be less since they will not need to have all the air conditions on.

5. Savings on Office supplies.

Since staffs are working from home, those companies which provide beverages and so on will save quite a lot on this.

Con of workings from home.

1. Less interaction among the staffs, may mean the rapport among the staffs may not be that good.

2. Messages and instructions from the bosses may not be conveyed promptly and clearly, any further clarification may not be possible.

3. Productivity of the staffs may not be as effective as in office due to some distraction at home, some females staffs may need to attend to house chores or issues at home or family matters such as kids' matters.

4. Meeting conducted over video conferencing may not be as effective as the physical in person meeting where ideas can be shared freely.

5. For some staffs, this may create some weight issues since less walking or movement and too comfortable for them at home.

6. For some building owners, this can be a not welcome news and development for them, since their tenants may decide to cut down their office rental space once the current tenancy is over.

There are a lot of service office facilities offering full services to cater for those who only need a room office instead of a big office space.

7. It can be bad news for staffs who are sick or medically not well, the boss may say after all you are working from home, while in between your rest, you can do some work!!!

What are the challenges we face working from home during COVID-19 pandemic?

1. Balancing between working life and family life

When both are working from home, we can face the following situation:

  • different working style or business,
  • with different works or video meeting to attend to,
  • attend to the needs of the kids at home.

This is quite a challenge for both husband and wife to work out.

2. Do you create a work environment at home?

This is something a lot of people working from home has to deal with.

If they do create a similar working environment, then:

  • they may have to face it 24 hours a day,
  • instead of just 8 hours as working in the office.

Then how to have normal family home life?

Without looking at the work?

and have your rest to recharge your energy?

3. Being cut off from co-workers

The link and cordial relationship and rapport with co-workers is not there.

If you need to talk to your co-worker:

  • either to discuss on work issue or
  • just to catch up for latest in life or whatever,
  • you can only hear the voice or via video conference.
4. Do you dress up while working from home.

A lot of people tend to dress casually at home even work from home.

If there is a need to have video conferencing, then dress up a bit.

Sometime the worker may have no choice,

Why?

The boss wants to have a video call!!!

The staff will have no choice but to dress up properly.

Can every business work from home?

There are some who can work from home, there are some businesses which require the staff to work on site.

Whether work from home is good or not,  and whether the quality of work is up to the standard or not, depends on one's own judgment.

For those who like to have colleague surrounding them, and who like instant answers and replies, work from home is definitely not his cup of tea.

At the end of the day, balancing between working life and family life in the same place for 24 hours a day, that is a big challenge and shift in mind set.