Emotional Management in Remote Work
Written by Claudia Buitrago – Psychologist; expert in emotional management
Work is a fundamental part of our lives. Most of us want to enjoy it, devoting ourselves to it with passion and optimism. However, as the human beings that we are, there are times when it’s easier for us to connect to our work with joy and enthusiasm and other times when working entails other emotional states such as stress, anguish, and anxiety, among others.
The pandemic situation and the reality of doing our jobs from home, in the virtual mode, has challenged us in countless arenas, one of them being our emotional realm. So, we have found ourselves swinging between the joy and gratitude of having a valuable job, for example, and the feeling of overload and exhaustion that comes with having to deal with different roles (being a psychologist, being a parent, being a homemaker...), multiple facets in one place.
Given these circumstances, our emotions can be an invaluable source of health and energy, thus the importance of engaging with them, experiencing them, and focusing on ourselves while keeping our emotional needs in mind. In other words, learning to manage our emotions in a healthy way will open up paths and possibilities for discovering resources and skills that can help us continue to enrich ourselves in our work environment.
Exploring Emotional Management and Its Importance within Work Environments and Virtual Teams
We can think of emotional management as a set of skills that assist us with containing or expressing our emotions, in a given context, to achieve a given objective. The main skills that comprise healthy emotional management are:
- STOP: The ability to stop is essential to produce responses mediated by attention and reasoning. Within healthy emotional management, this ability allows us to notice the emotional manifestations that are emerging within us, in other words, to identify the emotional state that’s being presented.
- NAME: By naming the emotion that’s being presented, like SADNESS, for example, we recognize it and begin to make room for it. The ability to recognize emotion is essential in emotional regulation. It involves opening the doors to the world of emotions, just like a good initial encounter with one of our clients can open the path to a valuable and fruitful working relationship.
- ACCEPT: The ability to accept emotions consists of welcoming that which is present. In our daily life, we have to experience different weather conditions: rainy and cold days, hot and breezy days, hot and humid days, etc. We experience very different emotional states within ourselves in the same way. According to this analogy, their acceptance is seen in the use of an umbrella and a coat on rainy and cold days, which make it easier for us to move in that weather condition. For some people, for example, listening to relaxing music can help them to accept the presence of stress and/or anxiety.
- TAKE OWNERSHIP: Taking ownership of our emotions means taking responsibility for them. It’s true that an external variable, like the pandemic, affects our emotional world in such a way that emotions like fear and/or anger can emerge. Nevertheless, the pandemic is NOT responsible for these emotions. We’re responsible for them. This implies that it’s up to us to respond to them. The ability to respond in this way belongs to us—as does the ability to make use of it. From the moment we take responsibility for our emotions, the possibility of learning from them and transforming them will expand as well.
These are some of the skills we use in healthy emotional management. When we strengthen and develop skills like these, we have the pleasant sensation of being in tune with ourselves. This sensation often expands to our relationships with our virtual team so that we experience greater fluidity, coordination, synchronicity, and, above all, a nurturing work environment, one that feeds us and facilitates our learning and development as human beings and as professionals.
Beyond Emotional Management
When we stop to explore and investigate the process of managing our emotions in detail, discover the skills involved, and give ourselves the opportunity to refine them, we realize that these skills aren’t only essential for contacting our emotional world, but for relating satisfactorily with others and our external world as well. And, if we focus on our work context, we discover that they’re central to the achievement of our goals, to what we call productivity.
So, for example, stopping and listening can result in the discovery of a new business opportunity; naming the state of things that one of our clients is describing to us assertively can translate into a sense of understanding and empathy in this client; accepting and assuming responsibility in the face of a complex and/or difficult work situation can result in the mobilization of professional and personal resources to catalyze the growth and transformation of our business. From this perspective, investing in the emotional health of your teams, relying on a network of psychologists who are experts in emotional management, professionals in opening and sustaining spaces for the mental and emotional care of your workers, is without a doubt, a great investment.