Blog - Good Digital Neighbor

Last week, people awoke to the news of countries closing borders and companies sending home their employees. Our team was lucky. We felt virtually no disruption because we’ve been working 100% remotely for five years. I’ve been doing it personally for seven. We realized that we have benefited from many of the lessons that working remotely had taught us; most especially that being a good neighbor can happen without physical proximity.

Critics have challenged this notion for years, claiming that a remote team cannot possibly be as close as a team that physically works together. Yet we are living proof that physical proximity is not what determines close relationships, innovation, or success.

Sharing those lessons felt like the right thing to do, and in the midst of writing an email with a quote from Mr. Rogers on how neighbors help others, we had an epiphany.

What would happen if all the good people of the world decided to embody Mr. Rogers and be good digital neighbors to one another?

Specifically, what would happen if we all decided to be good digital helpers? “Look for the Helpers.” It’s a term that seems to be shared ravenously on digital media the moment we are faced with something scary. Critics have referred to it as a consolation meme for tragedy and even decried it for trying to over-simplify adult ‘complex’ issues into a term meant for children.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” - Fred Rogers

Yet, it persists (especially during times like these) for one simple reason. There’s a profound truth that when tragedy is striking, we need to know what to do, and we all want to know that there are indeed people who are helping. Perhaps, as we watch the unprecedented closing of countries, we feel a level of childlike helplessness, and the advice from Mr. Rogers is exactly what we all need to hear.

"All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That's one of the things that connects us as neighbors--in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver."

As you look through the news and social media right now, your screen will be filled with many headlines that can feel terrifying for your business. We decided to look for the digital helpers and found some wonderful moments, including Mark Cuban’s offer of free advice to LinkedIn members with small businesses, followed by other good neighbors who showed up to help. With over 98,000 businesses sharing their anxieties and worries, it was wonderful to see a business leader helping. It was also encouraging to see the number of people that started helping others who hadn’t received a response to their cry for help.


We can all be a good digital neighbor. Here’s how:

Mr. Rogers provided plenty of episodes on what it takes to be a good neighbor. We’ve assembled some of our favorite quotes from Mr. Rogers as guidelines to help you be a good digital citizen during this difficult season.

  • Don’t jump to conclusions.

    "In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers."
    Digital #trolls have been on the prowl for years. Whether the motivation is to incite a response or just be plain mean, it can be easy enough to jump to our conclusion. Being a digital #helper means that before you pound out your “clever” retort or response, you will want to remember there is a human on the other side of that screen. Ask some thoughtful questions. Allow them to be heard. You won’t regret your kindness.

  • Identify what your gifts are and bring them out to everyone.

    "If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."

    Sit down and take account of the gifts you have. If you can’t recognize any, ask those around you what they see as your gifting. Then, lean into your unique offering. There’s a way to translate many jobs digitally. The unique knowledge that you possess can be shared through digital means to the benefit of many.

  • Decide to help others as much as you possibly can.

    "Real strength has to do with helping others."

    One of our clients will be launching their solution next week to enable others to help volunteer those who are in need in communities across the US. This will include helping seniors get their groceries without having to go into the community and place themselves at risk. You have the power to do the same. Fortunately, this crisis is happening at a point in history where we are connected digitally and do have the ability to continue moving forward with one another. Decide to get online and work within the social communities with which you are already connected.

  • Embrace the quiet.

    "How many times have you noticed that it's the little quiet moments in the midst of life that seem to give the rest extra-special meaning?"

    As social creatures, the idea of social distancing and isolation is unwelcome, to say the least. However, there’s also research that shows that there are benefits if we allow ourselves to embrace the quiet. ,.. While your solitude and isolation may not be of your own choosing we know from great heroes before us that out of suffering, we can find meaning. The quiet that comes into our lives as a result of certain freedoms being removed can be difficult. However, this quiet can also be the time for you to really think about the next move and to figure out your future plans. As Victor Frankl taught, no matter what, we retain the right to our attitude.

 

  • Cling to hope.

    "Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else."

    It’s true. The world as we have all known it has changed. This will be a difficult adjustment as we mourn the loss of a way of life that was familiar. However, the quicker we embrace our new normal, the sooner we can begin to find the path to our new futures. The very best thing we can carry with us as we enter is hope. It will sustain us in the dark and help to light our way as we all move forward together.


Look for the helpers.

We’re asking you to join us as we go #lookforthehelpers. For our part, we are going to be showcasing the stories of inspiring people that we find who are being great digital neighbors and building their own digital neighborhoods.

 

What does that look like for the InspireHUB team? It means...

  • Celebrating the #helpers who protect people from the #trolls of their digital neighborhood. We’re going to be looking for them on social media and shining a spotlight on them every chance we get!
  • Showcasing the products (like the IHUBApp that we built) and teams (such as our clients and partners) that help to keep us safe and happy in the various digital neighborhoods that we are building.
  • Choosing to actively spread some joy and peace around the world because everyone loves to have a digitally kind neighbor.

 

 

 

Topics: remote workplace, offsite staff, innovation, relationship building, connection, workplace culture, culture of care, empathy, morale, company culture, healthcare, best practices, success strategies, mental health, community building, better world, resilience, compassion, wellness, Covid-19, Coronavirus, look for the helpers

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