State of The Nation: 1 Year Later
Following Boris’s announcement and the end of lockdown in sight, we thought it would be a good time to check-in, reflect and refresh. The start to this year didn’t go quite as we had hoped. We were placed in yet another lockdown, and for many, this was the toughest yet. As we get ready for a more ‘normal’ way of life, it’s a good time to look back to where we were at the start of the pandemic and where we are now.
What’s Changed? Despite the obvious
Have you developed any new habits or routines you would like to keep up post lockdown? Was there anything you learnt about yourself? Maybe you’ve established a new working pattern or reignited a passion for cycling.
This isn’t a chance for you to beat yourself up for all the things you set out to do and haven’t done. If you haven’t taken up anything new, that’s also ok. Try and put that inner critic to the side. This year has been extremely difficult, and you’ve done more than enough just making it through. Reflecting highlights resilience. Give yourself a pat on the back; the end is in sight.
If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that we can start over as many times as we like. The pandemic has made us appreciate the things we took for granted. Maybe now is the time to make some plans of what you will do once things begin to open up. Perhaps you want to go to more exhibitions, make more of an effort to see family, or even take a photography class, whatever you want, the sky’s the limit.
Returning to Work
Things are Changing
2020 changed the way we work. The world turned digital as we could no longer meet face to face. As a result many companies have adapted and new hybrid working habits have emerged. As many of us get ready to go back to work, things might look a little different post-Covid. At the end of 2020, Microsoft Surface held a survey to gauge the expectations of the UK workforce; 41% of employees surveyed chose not to go into the office since the first lockdown. Looking at new working from home habits, 44% of people are working the same number of hours that they did before, but with a schedule that works best for them. Nearly half (48%) take their full lunch break without feeling guilty most days, and 55% use their lunch break to concentrate on their personal life. Clearly, this new way of working has proved effective, it will be interesting to see what long term changes will take place over the foreseeable future.
According to a Flexa Survey of employees from 180 different companies, only 8% of candidates want to return to working in an office five days a week. This calls for a shift in the way we run things. Now is the chance to be clear on how you want to work as we get this unique opportunity to start over.
Get the Ball Rolling
Despite the new calls for a more flexible working week, some of you will be returning to the office. This might be causing some anxiety after months of working from home. Now might be a good time to get in touch with your colleagues and start up a line of communication. This will mean when you do return, you will feel more a part of the team. This is also a great opportunity to start thinking about if there’s anything you can be doing prior to returning to work so you can come back and hit the ground running.
Harness Your Stress
We have previously discussed the importance of how we think about stress. As you prepare to get back into the office why not work with your stress and use it to your advantage? Next time you feel your heart beating a little faster and your mind starting to race, take a breath, regard it as an energy-giving tool that will drive you forward in your work and boost your productivity.
Take it slow
Life back in the office may come as a shock to the system; we’ve had a while to get used to working from home; it’s important to go at your own pace.
Returning to Social Life
As more and more opens up, it will be helpful to set boundaries. Just because more social events will be popping up doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everything. It might feel like you have to do it all but go slow with yourself, try and keep up any self-care activities you have developed and take time for you.
Now that we have a clear set of dates to look forward to and June 21st feels like it can’t come soon enough; it may be tempting to wish away these next few months. Let’s shift our mindset and view these last few months of lockdown as something to use to our advantage. Life won’t always be like this; we won’t always have so much time on our hands. Enjoy this slow-paced style of life; treasure these last couple of weeks having your children at home; it will be over before you know it.
The real message here is be kind to yourself. Appreciate what it has taken to get here. Life is not meant to be lived in lockdown; there’s no guidebook to surviving a pandemic. These next few months are going to be different for everyone, go at your own pace and remember you can make your own rules. Now is a time to be hopeful, the end is in sight!