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Help your team care for themselves and they will care for others

By Jodi Snell, vice president, Hedges

We work with some of Indy’s best at Hedges. Hard to believe, it has been five weeks since we all started working from home. While working remotely is not a completely new concept to our Hedges team, working from home 100% of the time while being surrounded by our loved ones is new to us.

Last week, we took the time to send out some extra communication via email to let Hedges employees know how much we value them. It was something we called Monday morning motivation. The response from our team told us that we were right on the money. They needed to be reminded that it’s okay to care for themselves during this time. As a result of this intentional communication, we received positive feedback from team members and learned that people felt relief, support, and gratitude for such open communication during this time.

We were inspired by how much this message meant to our team and during this time when collaboration and community mean so much, we wanted to give others permission to “borrow” our idea and hope that it can be a resource for those nonprofit leaders looking to communicate the value of self-care to their teams amidst COVID-19.

Here’s what we sent to Hedges employees

We have made it 4 weeks!! Thank you all for taking such good care of our clients. Each of you have gone above and beyond in so many ways. You have reflected the Hedges values repeatedly during this time and we appreciate you so much!

With that said, we wanted to touch base and make sure that you are caring for yourself as much as you are caring for our clients. Below are a few things that we want to reiterate and put out into the universe for each of you to read:

Let go of any guilt: We are so thankful to have a team of high achievers. That is what makes this transition to the full team working remote so easy for us. We know that you will take care of our clients and go above and beyond for them.

So…let go of the guilt about not being your most productive self right now or not getting in eight hours a day. We know you will take care of your clients and all client work will be completed. We aren’t counting hours and you shouldn’t either. Put that guilt on a boat and send it down the river!

Loved ones included: Dog barking? Cat walking across your keyboard? Kiddos popping in on a meeting? Partner walking in during a meeting? We are all in the same boat – all of us at Hedges and everyone else in the community. Try to remember those little windows into us as humans are okay – find the joy in those moments rather than worrying about them!

Give yourself a break: Hitting a wall? Can’t seem to finish that deliverable? Kiddos asking you to play? Want to have lunch with your loved ones? Feeling down? Need a nap? Have a desire to help and volunteer right now?

Give yourself permission to take a break. If you need to take part of a day away to just recharge during this time, please do so and don’t use your PTO. Consider it self-care and do it! You will be way more productive if you take a break and come back to your work. Please, please, please take the breaks you need to care for yourself right now.

You do you: Depending on your workload and the type of work you are trying to knock out you might need less or more face-to-face time with others. Please determine what you need each week and plan accordingly.

Need some heads down time or a break from Zoom? Let the team know, turn off Microsoft Team chat, and move unessential meetings to emails. Need a space to process and talk through a project with someone? Tap into someone on the team who has the space to do that with you! We all have different capacity levels each week, so let’s lean into that as a team.

It is our hope that these reminders will remove any stressors that you might be feeling related to work. In a time like this, we will each have good days and bad days. If you are feeling a certain way, someone else is probably feeling that way too. Check in on each other – take care of each other.

There are some videos about mental health related to identifying stress, your workspace, and practicing gratitude in First Person’s resource hub that might be helpful during this time. And, if you need additional supports or resources, please let us know.

With gratitude for all you do.


Focused on equity, justice, and serving others, Jodi Snell is leading the way to make Central Indiana a vibrant place to live and to strengthen the nonprofit sector. Jodi has worked and volunteered with an array of nonprofit organizations for more than 12 years providing leadership and strategy, serving on the front line of direct service, and leading fundraising efforts. Since 2014, Jodi has shared her valuable leadership skills as an essential thought partner and problem solver at Hedges. She leads the Hedges team and clients in a manner that transforms visions into impactful and measurable change.

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