Working, living, and socialising through and out of the coronavirus crisis
Barney Taylor Managing Director, Europe
Needless to say, the coronavirus crisis has the potential to be a difficult time for many, and what each of us experiences will vary from person to person.
For key workers, especially those with underlying health conditions, there may be concerns about personal exposure and safety. Those of us with older relatives may be conscious of their wellbeing and care. People who usually live alone may be experiencing feelings of isolation. Meanwhile, parents may be worried around educating their children – a case of juggling timetables, curricula and coursework, and all the while trying to get their own jobs done.
While all of these experiences and emotions are a completely natural response to our unusual and unprecedented circumstances, as we start to get used to a new normal, it’s important that we try to curb the impact, both emotionally and physically, where we can. Through this strange period in all our lives – 6 months according to indications from the government – we have to take care of ourselves and others, and we have to look for the positives where they can be found. When lockdown eventually ends, we will need to take the lessons we’ve learnt and apply them in our lives and in our work.
Similar to how, when you’re deprived of something it is all you can think about – suddenly, everybody has human connection in the front of mind. We long for all the small acts of social interaction we once took for granted.
While it’s true that none of us can currently physically meet, there will always be virtual options, whether that is with a manager, a team, your family and your friends. At a time like this, virtual meetups are a must and are now common ‘Lockdown’ doesn’t mean being locked away from others. Having video call quizzes, online coffee breaks, message old friends, and set up Friday night work drinks are bringing us together in a way that we haven’t ever done before. At first, it might seem a bit odd looking at a screen whilst drinking a beer and remembering that nobody is “buying the next round”, but we’ll probably get used to it soon.
Here at Ensono, we’re keen to expand virtual communication in other ways, too. We are running regular virtual roundtables to keep staff updated on the latest government advice and to encourage people to engage in Q&A and to share their best advice for coping with COVID-19. We’re also innovating with how we use Microsoft Teams. We have setup a European Teams site for everyone to post comments, videos and suggestions of what they are doing during this time which is providing a lot of light relief and camaraderie for everyone. I have seen great suggestions of exercises for the children, fun games in the garden, work out videos, hobbies to take up online, and so on.
Embrace any extra free time
A lack of commute and in-person social get-togethers has, for many, opened up more free time. Of course, that’s no bad thing. That new hobby you were going to take up? Those books on your bedside table you’ve been meaning to read? That new skill you’ve wanted to learn? Perhaps now is the chance we’ve all been waiting for.
When it comes to picking up a new past-time, or developing a new skill, there’s a huge volume of free tutorials, apps and resources to take advantage of too, so mastering the art of coding, photography, and baking needn’t be a pain.
As well as the physical health benefits, keeping active is a great way to ward off some of the issues associated with being cooped up for an extended time.
From a personal perspective, I’ve always tried to maintain a regular routine of exercise to power me through the week: running, cycling, and so on. Without keeping active, my work life would be less productive, and I know that’s the case for many colleagues at Ensono too.
In today’s world, exercise has probably become even more important than ever. Confined to the house for most of the day, exercise can give us that boost of energy that we need for the day.
Embrace the new normal
Working from home in many cases will mean working with our families and all the noise and distraction and changes to your schedules that this will bring. The most important thing to understand is that this is fine. For everyone, in Ensono and in companies all around the world, it will be our new normal for a while. Our families are now part of our work life. Surely, we have to embrace that.
Finding the right balance
Ultimately, we are all in this together with our families and those closest to us. Here at Ensono, we will continue to work and hard, support our clients and do our jobs to the best of our ability, but at the same time, we are also ensuring our schedules allow us to communicate and support all those around us who need us.
We are all living through extraordinary times, but there are still many positives to cling onto. The way we live and work has clearly changed for the time being, but we can still connect with one another, help one another, and have fun.