• Robyn Walters

The surreal experience of Covid-19

Self-Isolation! Such a surreal experience. It was only a month ago that life seemed once normal. The social distancing measures put in place across the nation has forced our interactions with others to be almost entirely digital. Conversely the period of lock down that we are all experiencing has shown that co-workers are sharing their personal worries and daily lives via these digital means more frequently and being more honest and open through social media channels which in turn is showing higher productivity rates. As a result of lock down I think it is fair to say that we are all getting to know our co-workers a little more as we are able to relate to them throughout these challenging times. Interestingly we can see that working from home has increased our positivity especially in our empathy and awareness towards co-workers.

This has led me to look further into the truth of home working. Is it more productive? What does homeworking mean for staff wellbeing and morale? The majority of home working benefits focus on improved work life balance and increased productivity yet with a huge proportion of the nation being forced to remote work is this the case as many employees would not have been able to plan for such an event. Understandably many people may welcome the remote opportunity but some may suffer from feelings of isolation and loneliness craving the people interaction and routine. As a recruiter I am fortunate that we can work with ease remotely however I am one of the individuals that sits in the preference of office based work, craving routine and face to face interaction so the adjustment I can understand can be difficult. Thus, digital networking is key throughout this challenging and uncertain time for the nation, to maintain communication with co-workers to continue to feel a sense of belonging and keep focused. It is strongly advised that management within companies are reaching out to staff on a regular basis throughout this lock down period via online meetings, calls, social media etc to ensure staff are receiving support and recognition.

TotaljobsUK surveys have shown that 44% of employees miss workplace banter and gossip the most from the workplace and 42% simply miss having people around them. This highlights to us that the forced lock down has given us all time to realise that our jobs are our social network and that these small factors are important to our mental health and wellbeing on a daily basis. Perhaps implementing quiz events via digital means once a week for coworkers would be a good way to maintain your culture/ethos and ensure staff maintain positive throughout this time.

Will the COVID-19 change the way we spend, invest, shop, and work in the future? Will more people work remotely? Will the shift to digital life be greater than ever before? What will happen next is unknown and uncertain for us all until further notice, for now we must continue to abide by the government rules to keep our nation safe and support the our heroes – THE NHS & Key workers keeping our nation alive.