A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I received an email about the holiday project package that we had in our possession.
It contained instructions on how to open the box, a little bit about what was inside, and how we might use the included activity to have fun over the holiday. It involved completing a hands-on project.
My daughter is attending kindergarten virtually this year. She’s a part of a cohort of about 1/3 of the kids who’ve opted to do it this way. The other 2/3 are going in-person. The whole “home school” thing is not always easy, but it has worked to keep her engaged in learning.
But there was one problem. We had not received a holiday project package.
My first thought was that we just hadn’t seen another email that had instructions on how we should sign up to get it, or go pick it up. After all, this had been how most of the other materials distribution had been handled.
We forwarded the email to her kindergarten teacher, and asked if this was something we might’ve missed.
The teacher replied, honestly, that she didn’t have anything to do with the original email sent, and had not heard anything about this.
So, we replied to the original email. You might already be able to guess what happened.
The nice administrator who replied, said that they just hadn’t even considered the remote students, and this had been given to the in-person learners only.
They went on to say “In hindsight, it would probably have been better to not email out the instructions to the remote kids since they weren’t going to be getting the project package”.
The problem is that it just didn’t occur to this administrator that including the kids who are learning remotely might have been the better option in the first place.
Now, I’m sure that this is a really nice person that doesn’t there any ill will towards my child. It seems like just a lack of training in empathy. We are doing this for the first time in many cases.
The Need for a Dedicated Function
This sort of thing is probably happening all over the world and work places that have gone to a hybrid or fully remote style. People who were in the office get seen, remembered, and included.
Those who are remote… well it’s sort of the luck of the draw there.
In some cases (like in my daughter’s), the easiest way to handle them is to just simply not include them.
Some people just don’t have the experience of including folks who may not be on the campus. It takes new ways to think about people.
We really need a dedicated function in the workplace for ensuring that people’s experiences are not this out of whack.
It takes foresight, creativity, training, empathy. and ownership to make sure everyone in the community feels seen and heard.
At Recess, we are dedicating ourselves to building products that empower teams to do their very best work; no matter where they happen to be.
Keep tuning in for more on this topic.
In the new year, we will publish the “job description” for a new role in companies called the Internal Marketing Manager. These folks make it their mission to help people get excited about the work they are doing, and help everyone feel both seen and heard.
Want a sneak preview of this? We’ll be sending it out to out email list, so make sure you have signed up.
The Good News
There actually is a happy ending to the story.
My wife, Bethany, was able to arrange for all of the remote students to receive a project box. No one’s ever accused her of not being persistent. 🙂