How to Inspire Community Spirit in Times of (Social) Isolation

By Alexandra Laxmi Iyer | March 19, 2020 | | Communities, Employee Stories, Health

Last weekend my husband and I had some challenging conversations with our daughters, 14, 16, and 27, around social distancing and doing our part to help “flatten the curve.” In disbelief, they asked questions like, “You mean, I really can’t hang out with my friends for the next 3 weeks?”

Salesforce has taught me that collaboration nested in a culture of understanding creates honest and productive interactions. Thankfully, what works at Salesforce also works well in my home. We launched our Coronavirus Family Project and later, our Quarantainment List Project. When everyone has a seat at the table, individually, their thoughts and opinions become collectively shared values.

To begin our Coronavirus Family project, each family member conducted independent research on COVID-19, combing through a variety of reputable resources. We sat together as a family to review the data. Then, based on our collective research, we collaborated on creating our family plan which included house rules around social distancing and hygiene etiquette. Every family member was responsible for helping create the plan. This made the plan easier for all of us to adopt since we were all invested.

Phase two of our project included coordination with 3 different homes. At the end of the day, decisions made in our daughters’ second homes impact our family unit. We could not risk that uncertainty, especially since one of our daughters is immune compromised. So, conversations with our extended family circle gave us an opportunity to come together and negotiate broader family plans.

Our family project evolved into a list of things we can do while social distancing to celebrate our time together, our “Quarantainment List,” a robust list of categorized activities.

Coronavirus Family Project

My daughters making the most of our time together while on a family hike.

Over the past few days, I noticed that several friends were facing similar challenges in their families. Drawing on my experience as an events professional that thrives on bringing people together, we began sharing this list with our extended family, friends and colleagues. The list has grown significantly through community contributions – quickly – to include virtual volunteering ideas, virtual tours and field trips, games, mindfulness activities, exercise tools, education resources, and more. A few of my family’s favorite ideas include volunteering with UpChieve to help tutor high school students and the COVID-19 Living History Project created by a Toledo Public School teacher.

Family volunteering at an animals sanctuary.

Our family spends a lot of time volunteering at Heaven’s Half Acre Rescue & Sanctuary. We’re coming up with ways to support the sanctuary virtually now, along with exploring organizations that we can virtually support.

I guess there’s a little bit of evidence here that as a community, we can come together.

  • Can we consider each other before taking action?
  • Can we consider our neighbors before taking action?
  • Can we, for some time, adapt and find joy in our own homes?
  • Can we leverage technology to bring us together so we do not feel isolated?

The situation in our family is analogous to what our communities are facing. Our family is a microcosm of the cultural shift we must all adapt to. The truth is, more than ever, our personal choices do impact others in a very significant way. My family is committed to doing our part. We’re excited to work together on staying educated, healthy and even entertained during this new way of life.

We hope our Quarantainment List will do the same for you! Because we’ve crowdsourced this, we have so many creative out-of-the-box ideas including:

  • Planning a Virtual Family Reunion
  • Creating a Family Cookbook
  • Taking your child to a “remote” working-day
  • Picking a language to learn as a family with language nights for practice

We hope you’ll share your ideas as well.

About Alexandra Laxmi Iyer:

Alexandra is the Senior Marketing Manager, Alliances Events & Sponsorship at Salesforce.org – and she’s been working from home for the last 15+ years. She is a Trailhead Ranger, a 20-year eventing veteran and former Pre-K teacher. Alexandra is most passionate about driving positive change through her work which includes engaging with Salesforce.org Network Partners who are supporting the critical work of nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. She lives in the Detroit Metro area with her husband, three daughters, dog, cat, fish, and plants.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandraiyer/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/xahndra