Is it me, or was Boris Johnson’s announcement, the highlight of the last year?
FINALLY, we had a roadmap for life beyond Covid. 12th April 2021 a day to be remembered. In the words of British R&B band Soul || Soul we will finally get ‘Back to life, Back to Reality.’
However, amongst the beautiful daydreams of summer on the beaches, meals out, hugging friends, dancing with absolutely no social distancing measurements, I was met with a feeling of slight nervousness, and I know I am not the only one who is.
But, I hear you ask, surely nervousness shouldn’t be on the agenda after a year of craving normality? Well, it is hardly surprising.
For over a year, we have endured a much slower, simpler pace of life. From jumping at lightning speed to the other side of the shopping aisle whenever anyone approaches you, becoming an expert at drenching your hands in hand sanitiser, legitimately being allowed to have a space next to you when on public transport, not to mention the number of times we have left the house before swiftly having to turn around to collect that pesky forgotten face-mask - we have all experienced things, that a year ago would have seemed unfathomable.
the end is nigh!
Perhaps though, the largest change has been in the workplace. In the last year, the places we call home, where we go to switch off and decompress have become our offices. There are of course both pros and cons to this. Pros being one can sit in on a meeting still in your PJ bottoms without anyone knowing, and cons being your step count might come in at <5 by the time you go to bed. In all seriousness though, working from home has been the catalyst for a number of topics, including wellbeing and managing the work / life balance.
Surveys are now finding that even when offices reopen, employees want their time to be split between office and home. Almost three quarters (73%) of UK workers want a hybrid arrangement, splitting their time between home and the office. Of the 73%, the average employee wants to work from home for around two thirds (64%) of their working week, and spend around a third (36%) of their time working from the office.
This hybrid of working styles will enable the best of both worlds. A chance to communicate ideas and feel connected that being in an office space provides, but also a chance to balance life at home, and not find yourself with buckets of laundry that need doing.
But, even with the demand for a hybrid working lifestyle, people still feel concerned about returning to work in general. Especially those who have been in the retail industry and hospitality sector who have been placed on furlough. In the same way you cannot expect Usain Bolt to break a world record without warming up sufficiently, we (on an individual level and company level) cannot expect individuals to go from zero to 100% - falling back into the patterns of working late, enduring long shifts, early starts etc without feeling well equipped mentally. Perhaps it is out of these concerns that 35% of staff who are currently furloughed said they were ‘not comfortable’ about returning to work, while 49% felt ‘very/fairly comfortable’.
Protecting our mental health for life after covid might seem like a waste of an effort now, because from the 12th April everything is going to be FINE (right?). But actually when you strip it back, protecting our mental health is more important than ever.
Why? Because unlike physical health, mental health cannot be seen. It is why proactive and preventive care is 100x better than reactive. And more importantly, that is why we are here to help.
From identifying and navigating burnout to managing stress and anxiety and coping with change in the workplace and general self-care - Harley Therapy have created the best expert-led workshops, that provide individuals with valuable knowledge and practical tools to feel well equipped for when the world opens up.
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Thank you for reading and I hope you are having a super start to your week!