Most people I have spoken to over the last few weeks have unanimously agreed that this lockdown will be much tougher to cope with. We were more fortunate that the weather was spectacular during the last lockdown but with daylight hours dwindling this time around our experience is likely to be very different.

Clients that I am speaking with have introduced a number of initiatives to help and encourage their employees. Some of the actions we have taken here at Collingwood echo that of many of our clients.

  • About 2 weeks ago we started a companywide health challenge using Virgin Pulse. We have all connected our various health wearables and smartphones and the app, now tracking our steps and physical activities. There are many educational articles and videos on well-being, diet, exercise and mindfulness as well. It has made us all aware of what we do on a day to day basis and encourages us to keep active.                                
  • We still ‘meet up’ daily for a virtual ‘brew’ so that we can have some time just to catch up and talk about non-work-related subjects. One of the big things we miss is the social interaction in the office, and whilst this doesn’t replace it, it’s always something to look forward to and gives us a break from work.                                                                  
  • Every other week we have a mindfulness session where we talk through how we are feeling and generally becoming more aware of the impacts of this new way of working. From one of the sessions it was agreed that we would ‘check in’ with colleagues to see how they are doing and have honest conversations about how we are coping. This has been very useful as we now realise that we are all going through similar things and that we are here to support each other. The end of the session is a guided meditation which helps us all to recharge in a remarkably short period of time.                                     
  • We have been given greater flexibility to take breaks and exercise during the day when there is daylight and on the odd occasion when it stops raining! Again, this has helped me personally get more fresh air and exercise. It’s taken a while to realise that it is OK to be away from the phone, laptop and emails for a while when working at home.

It’s important that Companies take the lead and help their employees through this next period of lockdown and working from home. Each employee will be different. Regular communication, open discussions, and health initiatives can only help.