Y'all, I'm tired.
Tired from the year of home-schooling kids and endless work meetings on Zoom. Tired from the backlog of work that followed my breakthrough COVID case. And so so incredibly tired of worrying and then uttering sighs of relief only to worry again.
If there's one consistency I've seen across Rise projects this year, it's how tired everyone is. Whether the project is about public health, homelessness, or transportation policy, folks are just exhausted. I've seen this show up explicitly in survey responses, interview data, and in facilitated discussions. Sometimes I've just felt it in a virtual meeting or in how people respond. The burnout is real and it's affecting everyone from recipients of social programs to case managers, public leaders, and business owners.
I've thought a lot recently about how we transition into a post-pandemic (or less pandemic-y) world; what it means for our projects, our data collection and analysis strategies, and how we engage across systems and sectors. I'm not exactly sure what the 'after' looks like, but one thing that is abundantly clear is that things are not going to snap back to normal - nor should they.
COVID forced us to do a better job of meeting people where they were at. At Rise, we extended more grace to our partners and thought more deeply about how to alleviate burdens associated with data collection and analysis. We were more flexible with projects and timelines. In our interactions, we led by recognizing and creating space for our shared struggles.
The effects of the pandemic will be long-lasting and the need to meet people where they are at will continue in the months and years following our collective return to normalcy. Let's continue to extend grace and flexibility, work to alleviate burdens for others, and create space for recognizing our shared humanity in all of our interactions.