We are on the brink of huge change – a change back to “normality” in the way we work, travel, how and where we socialise and our interactions with family and loved ones. The two final steps in this roadmap to getting back to normal take place today, May 17th and June 21st.
Change is typically stressful, but for an entire country to go through it together on a specific date is momentous. This is after nearly 18 months of worry, difficulty and heart-breaking sadness for some. Fundamental aspects of our daily lives and our behaviours, which have been restricted by law for a long time, will significantly change. The country quite rightly will be celebrating, but we also need to exercise caution.
18 months is a long time, particularly for the very young. I’m not sure my 9 year old can really remember what normal life is about – she’s given up asking when we are going on holiday, if she can go swimming, or have her friends for sleepovers. The 18 year old will have finished 6th form without being there much. He missed celebrating his 18th with his first legal pint, missed a summer of festivals, missed competitive sport – and is now in his school hall for the next 3 weeks doing exams to replicate A levels.
All of us have been existing within a much smaller personal world and now this is about to change. Humans are creatures of habit and our habits have changed. This will a happy time, but it could potentially be tough too for those feeling low after such a long period of worry and stress.
People who seem in control on the surface might be dealing with anxiety, whether it is the thought of leaving the house, nervousness about seeing large groups of friends, of going back into the office, or even of driving the car into town that’s busy again. Companies will again have to adjust to change – integrating new employees, deciding whether to go back to the office, looking at which processes to retain and which to lose. It’s huge.
At ibex gale we are used to working remotely, so it’s not too different for our “office” set up. However, like many companies we’ve hired new people during the pandemic who we haven’t met face to face which we normally would have done. We haven’t had our regular team meet ups in the office, and we haven’t seen our clients in person.
We have decided to kick off the “back to normal” by all going away for a team day and night (irrational excitement about taking the train, staying in a hotel, having dinner together!). It’s really important for us to mark the transition and to see each other in person as we plan our year ahead.
So perhaps think about what you can do for yourself, a colleague, or a loved one to minimise the fallout from this change. Don’t assume a person will be OK – what seems small could be a tumultuous issue for them. Managers should plan for this “back to normal” by being open and inclusive with any changes, communicating effectively, listening, and being extra aware of any impacts on their team. Team get togethers and being flexible so employees can take a proper break could be instrumental to recharging and renewing enthusiasm for the road ahead. Beach, no WIFI, for me please.