Updated: Aug 22, 2021
When lockdown started and w.f.h became, for lots of people, staring at a screen with people in little boxes - it was all kind of fun, exciting even, "a bit like Christmas".
Then the novelty wore off and reality set in, we all still had to get things done. The need for trust in our people went up and anyone who thought presenteeism was necessary for productive work - well, where are their heads now?
I heard an horrendous story of people (somewhere in the USA I think) who were being asked to sit at desks with zoom or teams permanently on so their boss could see them working. Really?
It was also somehow an odd opportunity to peek into people's lives. Suddenly spouses, kids, dogs and cats were present as were bedrooms, dining rooms and all sorts of nooks and crannies. Watching how people dealt with these interventions was interesting; everything from a hug to a yell, but somehow more real.
I heard the term 'at home trying to work' rather than 'working from home' coined by someone. But it has opened my eyes to how people can be present, engaged in conversation and make decisions even if making lunch for the family or walking the dog.
My wife is a teacher and life was pretty full-on for her as well, expectations were high and soon being in school again was a must. I get a sense that parents have a lot more respect for teachers than they might have done before.
Then people are working very flexibly, working around and through mealtimes, visiting vulnerable relatives, shopping deliveries and then .... things seemed to settle down, or at least we started to accept that this is the way things are - for now at least.
People tell me they have never worked or maybe lived so intensively and now, contemplating what comes next, it could feel relentless.
There are clearly lots of pressures out there and huge opportunities as well.
The main point of this short blog though is to point out that people need a break and if possible a decent bit of downtime. People may also benefit from talking things through with someone outside of their immediate sphere of influence and control.
Having a decent coach is a valuable asset to anyone, a change is as good as a rest, and that can also be in the form of different faces. Choose wisely and find time to explore safely and be given an opportunity to be listened to by someone who has your interests at heart.
If, once you have taken some downtime you think you might need some support to reflect on what next, this could be something to try.
Would love to hear your views.