Building a Community in the Workplace

Building a Community in the Workplace

NPR recently published a story about Hotel Corona. Hotel Corona, previously known as the Dan Hotel, in Jerusalem, became a hotel for people recovering from the Coronavirus. Over 200 people from all walks of life, ages, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds were forced to live together during their recoveries. Two negative tests for COVID-19 was the only way out.

If you have 35 minutes, it’s well worth your time to listen. But, to summarize, these individuals started as you would have expected. Each religion or group stuck to their own. Very little interaction occurred, and very little commonality found. And then things changed. There could be many reasons, but by the end, the Hotel Corona became a singular community. It wasn’t easy but it was clear. One people with one mission – to recover and to do it with respect, empathy, and understanding.

What does this have to do with you? With your organization? How can this apply to working through zoom?

Taking from a recent Seth Godin post – what the guests of Hotel created was a community. They were not defined by their individual characteristics but by their shared goal. That did not make Orthodox Jews any less Orthodox or Muslims any less Muslim – they were still themselves.

Without a doubt, Coronavirus has changed how we work, how we balance our work, how we interact, and how we even build and maintain communities.

But what Hotel Corona can teach us is that Community can overcome immense obstacles. Without in-person conversations, water cooler talk, or an office to go to – the story should teach us that community can be built from anything. A community can overcome thousands of years of bad blood (and I realize I’m overdramatizing one story here) but it’s true.

What’s the lesson here?

With the right shared goals, a strong community can overcome historical challenges far more significant than any internal disagreements your organization has faced. If you are facing conflict at your organization that is preventing progress – think about the challenges that the folks at Hotel Corona had. Think about how they pushed through their differences and created something beautiful. What will unify your organizational differences and allow you to create something beautiful?

So, let’s get started.

References and Resources

Hotel Corona

Community of Practice

How to Start a Movement

Supporting Music

Cream – White Room

David Bowie/Arcade Fire – Wake-up (Live)

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