Wellbeing During COVID-19
Returning to the Workplace
Connecting to what really matters to you
What did you learn about yourself these last 3 months? You may have surprised yourself with new skills or interests, worked in a more focused way or discovered that all that extra time at home or in a different type of working environment made you more relaxed, more connected to others, happier. On the other hand, you may have realised just how much you missed your colleagues in the workplace and the day to day office structure and social time. You may have even missed the journey to work and found it hard to separate work time from relaxation time when confined in the same location day in and day out. Perhaps you found it more stressful than you imagined it would be or may be the opposite is true.
How about your health and wellbeing? Some people found that they were consuming more alcohol during lockdown, others reported drinking less. Lots of people took up home cooking in a big way, whilst others embarked on a new daily fitness routine. Many have reported feeling calmer and less stretched, while for some mental health has been depleted and even exacerbated, for a lot of people there has been isolation and loneliness – the pandemic and the impact has taken its toll on us all in different ways.
Whilst we have all been through the same experience, the same set of events, how we perceive them and the impact they have on us will always be different. So, what was it like for you? That is what really matters.
This has probably been the longest period for many of us when our day to day routines have been disrupted or we have been away from our normal environment. Most of us get into a pattern of work, home, friends and that familiar routine of ours becomes part of the security we often feel we need. The change of routine at weekends, or for the occasional holiday is welcome, of course, but rarely lasts for more than a few days or perhaps two weeks in the long summer. Therefore, the last twelve weeks or so have been an exceptionally long time away from what we term normal. Long enough, in fact, for us to have become accustomed to new patterns of living and working and certainly to have learnt new things along the way.
Were you pleased with how you managed the interim period and with what you accomplished in that long hiatus from normal?
Or were you disappointed that you found it harder or achieved less than you expected?
Over the last weekend I, like many I imagine, have been watching and listening to coverage of past Glastonbury festivals in what would have been the 50th anniversary year. Lyrics from several songs seemed to resonate more strongly, maybe due to melancholy, or just because I am actively listening, but in the Foo Fighters’ song – Times Likes These, the words stood out:
“Times like these you learn to live again
Times like these you give and give again
Times like these you learn to love again”
If you had to just pick two things you have learnt about your “working self” over the last few weeks what would they be? Select the two things that most matter to you and perhaps will shape how you might want to live and work in the future.
For some, the period may be one which has confirmed just how important work and the workplace is to them and that they will never take it for granted again. Others may have discovered that working from home really was far easier and far more efficient than they had imagined.
That daily journey to work may have been truly missed by some who liked the routine and the time it gave to settle thoughts; others never want to go back to that daily commute with all the time spent in queues and stressful incidents.
Being part of a team matters a great deal to some, whilst others may have preferred being able to work on their own in splendid isolation.
Communicating by video and audio conferences will have been a challenge for those who much prefer to see people in person, but for others it’s been a quick, simple and rather engaging way of catching up and working collaboratively.
Now, here’s a thought! You may secretly wish “lockdown” could continue, at least as far as work is concerned and feel rather glum or even anxious about going back to the old routine or to the workplace. Or you could be feeling the opposite of course, longing to get back to “normal”.
This may be an opportunity, albeit one which has been so distracting in so many ways, to connect to what really matters to you now in your workplace. Use what you have learnt about yourself to decide whether you want to change things in the future or whether you are doing what you enjoy doing and do well.
Times like these are for looking back at the recent past because sometimes reflection like this can help us decide what we offer and what we want for the future. Whether you are preparing to go back to the workplace or maintaining your current status, take a moment to reconnect to what really matters; what you have learned, what you have given, what you have loved.
After all, you have been through a lot. Maybe it’s time for new beginnings?
If you would like to discuss the relevance to your organisation, please call us