If you're like me, "how are you?" is the default question to ask others on Teams meetings before everyone has joined. But with the heaviness of white supremacy, the pandemic, job insecurity, and so much more that is affecting each of us uniquely and deeply, asking "how are you?" feels disingenuous to me. Can coworkers really answer that authentically? Are you emotionally prepared to hear how folks are if they aren't doing well? Can anyone truly articulate how they're feeling?
Here are five options that I've been trying out, with the goal of offering people a place to share within their own comfort level as an engaged, caring coworker.
1. What are you looking forward to today/tonight/this weekend?
2. How are you going to take care of yourself today?
3. Will you be able to get some fresh air today?
4. Are you able to do something nice for yourself today?
5. How are your pets doing?
Do you have other suggestions? Drop them in the comments.