At the end of 2020 we were all working in the office (with social distancing measures) and we were starting to welcome clients back into the building. After a turbulent year, things were starting to return to some sort of normality. And then lockdown 3.0 happened.
We are now in a very different place. Work patterns have shifted once again. We have been divided into bubbles and are minimising the amount of time we each spend in the office. We are back to spending most of our time working from home and physically isolated from our colleagues. The goal posts have moved.
Speaking to colleagues and friends, this lockdown has hit people in a very different way. Many people are starting to feel exhausted by the constant changing landscape. It’s hard to plan ahead and see light at the end of the tunnel.
Here at Choose we are trying to focus on the positive. Our learning from 2020 has helped us to respond more quickly to the new year’s challenges and we are determined to adapt and evolve.
To plan effectively for 2021, we took some time out as a team to look back on the last 12 months to see what we have learned and how this can help us to survive and thrive.
As a PROFESSIONAL TEAM we learned:
How to work in different ways: Like everyone, we’ve had to change our daily work habits. Working from home, remotely or on rota systems – it’s all been new, but we’ve adapted. When change came again, because we’d already experienced it, we’ve been able to adapt again more quickly and easily.
The importance of digital: We like to work face to face but getting people in a room was tricky due to workloads and on-site locations. We’ve learned how to incorporate digital platforms into our working practices, and it’s been great. It won’t ever replace being together in person, but it has allowed us to identify what can be done quickly and easily online and it has meant we can get everyone together more regularly. Now these systems are in place, it’s much easier to revert back when circumstances require.
How much we care about our clients: We’ve realised how much we care about our clients and how far we will go to look after them even when the odds are stacked against us. Despite the uncertainty, both personally and professionally, we continue to prioritise their needs and communicate effectively.
How much we value each other: We understand the importance of our team, the way it works as a whole and what everyone brings to the party. We miss working together and appreciate everyone’s key skills and strengths.
How to stay connected: We have found creative ways to keep connected such as setting team challenges over WhatsApp. We’ve started more challenges this year too – watch out on facebook and our news pages for updates.
How to prioritise: We have learned how to prioritise tasks – both professionally and personally, making us more productive and self-aware.
The importance of flexible planning: In an ever-changing environment, we have learned to be more flexible in our approaches, finding creative ways of reusing and repurposing content. Having a plan B is key (and sometimes even a Plan C, D and E!)
Patience: Working remotely and relying on digital platforms, without the close proximity of IT support, can be testing! We have all learned to be more patient and not to expect solutions at the touch of a button.
To be more environmentally friendly: With the absence of the company printer, we’ve used much less paper. Coupled with our digital improvements, we’ve learned how to store and send things safely and securely, reducing the need for physical copies. We’ve built this into 2021 plans and are actively looking for ways to become more eco-friendly.
To be more security conscious: With an increased reliance on digital we have revised our policies and improved our tech systems, upskilling team members and ensuring data is safe and secure.
The importance of mental health and well-being. We’ve always banged the drum on this one but oh, how lockdown proved us right! A happy and healthy workforce is productive, cost effective and more likely to last the distance, especially when there’s a bump in the road.
The importance of physical activity and exercise to maintain mental health. Again, we’ve always flown the flag on this one but 2020 brought it to the forefront. We set ourselves a step challenge to walk the 3 Peaks Challenge while we were on lockdown. Read about it here: http://www.chooseoccupationalhealth.co.uk/news/choose-oh-climb-the-three-peaks-from-the-comfort-of-their-own-homes/
More about each other: During our weekly meetings we introduced an ‘all about me’ slot on the weekly call where people could talk freely about a subject, issue or hobby that they feel passionately about. We’ve got to know each other better. Not only our likes / dislikes and homelife, but also how we react to new situations.
As individuals we have learned:
- Creative skills such as: baking, languages, knitting, crafting, virtual quizzing
- To improve our homes through DIY, painting & decorating
- New ways to relax such as colouring
- Creative ways to celebrate special occasions
- New self-care beauty routines
- The importance of well-being and putting yourself first
- To appreciate nature with long countryside walks
- The importance of spending quality time with family and friends
- The true value of pets and their benefit to well-being
- How to support each other – family, friends, local businesses, charities, and the community
- The importance of communicating
- What is important to us – and what we can live without
We hope that our learning will help us to survive and thrive in 2021, continuing to support our wonderful clients. We look forward to working with you in a brighter future.
From all of us at Choose OH.