New York, NY – We are approaching the two-year mark since the initial shutdown took place and finally, after all the quarantines and isolation, reports show an increase in employee momentum at commercial office buildings. 

Ben Kimmel.

Security systems are monitoring a noticeable increase of office tenants who want to make their return. However, does this mean the end of the pandemic? Who knows? Reports show that perhaps the worst is finally behind us. 

Although hopes were high before the Omicron variant, infection numbers have plunged and some of the restrictions have been dropped or suspended. Nevertheless, nothing will be resolved by simply flipping a switch. 

Fears and concern for health and safety have played a major role over the last two years. Therefore, now is a good time to discuss some helpful dos and don’ts in the workplace. First, it is important to remember the easier tasks such as, cleaning workstations, washing hands and staying home if you don’t feel well.

Next, it is important to recognize that there are millions of people in New York City, which means every one them has an opinion.  But as the saying goes, “To each their own.” 

It is often a challenge to remember not all opinions are the same. Simple math explains that most  full-time workers spend more time at work than at home. But our work day consists of a long periods of time filled with the uncontrollable aspects of people, places and things. A lot has changed over the last two years. 

Political debates in the workplace can cause heated arguments. Those arguments can lead to grudges that then become disruptive to a harmonious environment. The idea of unity in the workplace is to create a strong sense of working cohesion throughout the workforce. The truth, however, is people talk. Everyone has their own opinion and most people naturally assume that their opinion is right. 

One of the most notable debates or discussions revolve around the pandemic itself. It is important to remember that lives were lost. And, to a person who lost a loved one, no one needs to tell them “the truth” about Covid-19 or vaccines and booster shots. 

It is important to remember that not all advice is wanted advice, which means unsolicited advice can lead to conflicts between staffers and hostility in the workplace.

It is important to recognize that not everyone thinks, lives or feels the same way. Unsolicited opinions are not always necessary. To raise our level of emotional intelligence, ask yourself these three questions before you speak:

  • Does this need to be said?
  • Does this need to be said by me?
  • Does this need to be said by me, now?

At a time when tensions remain so high, rather than accusing a person of being too sensitive about their beliefs, why not try being more empathetic and compassionate? One parting example: New York City has a very large Ukrainian population. Opinions may vary and politics may vary — but there’s an all-out war being waged inside that country. People are suffering and dying and you never know how someone else at work might be directly affected. They could have family living there. Unsolicited advice might not be the most helpful thing right now. Let’s try exercising some emotional intelligence instead. 

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Wellbeing and DEI Content Provider, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate.  Ben can be reached at



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