It goes without saying that everyone’s experience of lockdown will be different, situations that are easy to manage for some are less so for others.
Where work and life becomes blended together, simple issues can become complex in an instant.
Being part of the occupational health and safety community I am very used to looking at data (although our emphasis at RoSPA is about the people behind each data point and the fact that they have lives to lead, in addition to their working life).
In this field, especially in the current climate, there is huge emphasis on predicting what’s next – the emerging issues that become apparent as we take safe and healthy steps back to work, as we try to stay “ahead of the curve”.
That all works well when you are talking about business and balance sheets, but what about when the curve being referred to relates to the psychological effect of a crisis, and its impact on the lives of our co-workers? How do we proactively seek to work with them so we get through it?
From memory, I am in week 12 of homeworking. Reflecting back, the initial weeks were disruptive to my usual way of working; not so say that I am particularly systematic but I do have a routine. I’ll admit to some anxiety, simply in terms of being physically isolated, but with empathy from line management any anxiety melted away.
I’m not just at work though. I’m what I call a “whole person” with a “whole life” - someone who’s not just an employee, but that exists outside of work where I also pick up the vibrations of family and friends as they too move through this experience with a mix of fear, sleeplessness and compassion fatigue in resilient people.
So where am I now?
Riding the wave I reckon, taking time to talk to the people around me, endeavouring not to be dismissive when trying to dissolve their fears. Prioritising and re-prioritising work to ensure it “fits” within the time available, and grateful to have flexibility in my decision-making.
My instinct in everything I do is to want to fix things, quickly, but without papering over cracks. I am learning that we each have a role in fixing the current situation, to recognise the parts each of us play. Mine is to pause each day to ensure that the people I need are right alongside me, and when they slip behind, to be ready to work hard to bring them back alongside.
What’s your story?
Dr Karen McDonnell
RoSPA's occupational safety and health adviser
Planning to reopen your work place? RoSPA can help with a Covid-19 Back-to-Work Review
Posted: 6/12/2020 9:45:38 AM