Something just occurred to me as I was walking around the block with the dog, that the “work” place is so much more than “work”, to so many people.
Often colleagues form very strong bonds with those that they work with. It becomes a place where they are able to confide in these individuals about troubles they may be having at home, where they are able to share concerns over their children, their partners and even their friends.
For many, it’s a safe environment – away from their personal lives, where they can be who they want to be. Some even adopt a work persona!
It’s also an environment where we get validation for a job well done, where we celebrate wins and support each other when things get tough. A place where we laugh hysterically when things go wrong, and share (often inappropriate) banter between like-minded individuals.
A lot of us will be missing this feeling of camaraderie and support during these times of Social isolation, especially those that live alone.
Nobody is going to congratulate us for washing the dishes really well! My family don’t find me remotely amusing and when I crack what I think is a hilariously funny joke in my house – I see blank faces and tumbleweed!!
I spoke to a friend in the UK this morning that I used to work with 25 years ago, we were reminiscing about the “good old days” ie: recruitment before computers and how we used to interview people at our desks whilst smoking a cigarette! (ugh!) The environments may have changed considerably but that sense of camaraderie is age old.
Today, somebody confided in me that she’d had to put her counselling sessions on hold. Although she was offered the virtual equivalent, she was worried about her family hearing what she was saying in her sessions. I can’t imagine the detrimental effect this situation could have on a family.
I personally miss getting ready for work and feeling like I actually look presentable. Most of my days at the moment are spent in comfortable tracky pants and a T-shirt, although I do put on some make-up to avoid scaring the people I am meeting virtually!! I know some friends who are still making the effort to dress professionally each day as it helps get them into the right frame of mind for working.
This is a massive time of adjustment and we mustn’t underestimate the ripple effect of not physically going into the office and having no time away from our families to be our “work selves”.
To reduce this impact, maybe we should make time in the day to pick up the phone for 5 minutes to those colleagues you would normally chat to in the kitchen while you make your coffee, over lunch etc. Maybe lock in a virtual coffee with people you have become friends with at work – not just the people it is essential to communicate with. This doesn’t have to impact your productivity at work, you can do this at lunchtime or early evening. Whenever you decide to do it, it’s important to take time out of your day to keep those bonds alive.
Just imagine how much we will appreciate our lives when this finally passes and we can socialise together again…..
Amanda Glacken is the Division Manager at Parity Consulting; specialising in the recruitment of Product, Marketing and Digital professionals. In her spare time, she is a cheese connoisseur and considers herself a bit of an ABBA enthusiast. For a confidential discussion or to further discuss the topic of mature professionals entering the workforce, contact Amanda Glacken on 0450 291 368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.