Across the United Kingdom, the respective parliaments and assemblies are working through the approach to returning to life when Covid rules and legislation are removed. This is part of learning to live with Covid as part of our everyday lives. In the words of Boris Johnson taking “personal responsibility” with Covid still present. As it has done since March 2020 this divides opinion as to what is and is not acceptable. This I imagine is something that will continue and therefore worth preparing ourselves for.
For many people, the arrangements they have been living their lives under will change. Again. Mandatory home working which for many people has become the norm will come to an end. I’ve been having a number of conversations with people about this over the last month. Here are a few observations I’d take from those conversations which seem to have resonated with others. Shared here in case they could be of benefit to you.
ONE - Adjustment to the professional and personal parts of your life
The blurring of personal and professional lives has certainly become more commonplace over the last 16 months. As you think about potentially returning to a more formal workplace I’d encourage you to proactively think about the implications of both personal and professional lives. Being deliberate about this upfront could help you prepare and make adjustments which will help avoid complications further down the track. Not making assumptions that everything will slot into place with how it used to be is just one area to explore.
TWO - Be aware that people will have different views
Just like life throughout the pandemic, people’s values and situations are very different. And can change dependent on the circumstances of the day. Talking and sharing with each other how things are and what is working well and less well could help us learn from each other and avoid things building up into really unhelpful frustration.
THREE - What can be done where?
As you think about your professional responsibilities some people have found it useful to assess what needs to be done or could be done in which location. Hybrid working is a phrase that is now more commonplace in organisations. Doing the assessment can help work out what hybrid might look like for you. A page titled ‘where is it most appropriate?’ with three columns, 15 minutes and a beverage of your choice is all it needs to take. This is a simple exercise and yet will bring way more objectivity into your assessment of what your work structure might look like.
Different variations of this exercise can be done. For example, the Job Holder and Line Manager doing it independently can then get together to discuss the results and drive a meaningful conversation. Or doing it as a team exercise can help people understand the different perspectives that exist within the team.
FOUR – Avoiding the slide
During the last 16 months, one thing has stood out for me - How adaptable people are.
Clearly, many of the challenges people face have been testing. Without diminishing the difficulties endured by some this has caused the majority of people to draw on their resilience and adapt to what’s required. I’ve observed numerous examples of situations that once felt awkward and odd becoming the accepted and in many cases a better norm. As we head towards the greater freedoms of being out of lockdown it could be easy to slip back into poor habits. Now is the time to think about what those poor habits might look like. And ensure we put in place things that will help us resist the temptation. Even if that is simply to review how we are doing in September, we might just help ourselves avoid a slide backward.
Whatever your personal situation as you work out what your new normal will become, I hope the next few months turn out to be truly terrific. As always, I’m interested in any observations or questions you may have.