Back to “normal”

Hi everyone!

I’m so excited to share with you my very first article published on our Santa Barbara County HR – Organizational & Talentt Development Newsletter. This is a personal perspective of some of the good things happening in our organization due to these tough times we’re going through.

Back to “Normal”

Picture by Tina Witherspoon –

It’s been almost two months since the stay-at-home order was enacted and it seems that ever since, at every chance, we express our desire for things to go back to “normal.” By normal I mean the way things were before COVID-19, social distancing, teleworking, homeschooling, etc. At least I know I have.

A few days ago the HR/OTD team facilitated the first Becoming a Supervisor training, as part of our organization’s Leadership Development Series. What I’ve noticed is that each time we get to connect with our employees during these virtual training sessions, everyone is so happy to see each other. You can feel the need for socialization and human connection, even among those who describe themselves as introverted.

During this particular session, the participants, all from different departments, were asked what they envision work will look like after COVID-19. There was a long pause until someone said – “I hope we don’t go back to “normal”! The answer was unexpected. “Please, tell us more” – the facilitator said. The participant then explained how she gets to focus more when working from home resulting in increased productivity; how, due to COVID-19, her department had implemented new technology that helped process improvement; and how, even when she is physically apart from her colleagues, the synergy is better than ever.


Looking at the Bright Side

Let’s take a moment to reflect. Of course, we all want COVID-19 to be over and we want our families and communities to be safe and healthy, but have you taken the time to think about some of the positive outcomes that have occurred as a result of these unprecedented times? What are the things that have changed during the past couple of months, in your personal and professional life, that you would like to keep? If you are not able to think of anything positive then you may need to consider a mind shift towards a more positive mindset.

If positive thinking doesn’t come to you easily, here are 3 powerful ways to stay positive.

One of the first things that come to my mind is that, in spite of being physically apart, collaboration is at its best! In the last couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to cross-train and work with not only the people from my department that I usually don’t get to work with but with other internal departments/units and external partners. This includes the Emergency Operations Center, the Public Health Department, the National Guard and Santa Barbara City workers, when working at the Non-Congregate Shelter. The silos are coming down!


Celebrate the Little Victories

“Kudos to County HR” – another participant expressed appreciation during a Leading Through Crisis Masterclass and shared how happy she was with the resilience of the team and the exceptional services we’ve provided during this time. While you read this, please take a minute and realize that even now, we are carrying out our mission, living our values and manifesting our vision. And celebrate! Because by tackling one day at a time, by learning a new skill, implementing new technology, or exercising our EQ muscles with resiliency and empathy, we are growing stronger!

So as for “going back to normal,” I think we’ve come too far to go back to that.