It has been said that this period has been one of the greatest mental challenges presented to the world as humans are just not designed to be in lockdown, restricted in access to others. It is argued that the wars, although more brutal and deadly, were psychologically less testing as they also provided purpose and comradeship to new levels. The lockdowns have been far tougher as has seen the real social needs of people stripped away plus greater pressures placed upon them in terms of lack of visibility, and financial concerns.
So what lies next?
It is a fair question and one which is concerning many boards as they will need to somehow re-energise their teams, people and businesses. It will not be an easy challenge.
· For the 4m people who have been on furlough, how quickly can one get them up to speed?
· Do we understand enough how lockdown has impacted each of us? Are we work-ready and fit?
· It is believed that behaviours have fallen and many have understandably become more lethargic. How quickly can this be reversed? There is a genuine gap between those who have remained working and those who have not.
· Many believe that they now have greater call and control over their work-life balance during business hours. Will this cause conflict?
· How will people respond in behaviour post-pandemic? Will fear still have a strong presence or will people feel liberated?
· Has the gap between the have and have nots become wider and is this a concern?
As one expert in the discussion noted “I do wonder if companies understand the scale of the challenge that does face them. None of us has ever really been through such a test before so it would be a brave person who would predict just how their teams will come back.”
Another commented: “You will have changed in many ways. You will have reflected more than you have done. You will see things in different ways. Your values will have subtly changed even if you don’t think they have. Your colleagues too will have changed, so how will it all come back together and that is before one considers how social isolation will have impacted on people.”
Have you reflected on how you have changed in the past year? On your reflections and what you would differently as a leader and person?
Many comments on how behaviours have become increasingly quirky and eccentric at times during this period and it is all-natural. This has mentally tested everyone in many different ways. The odds are that there will be a real sense of energy and optimism post-pandemic as we all seek to rebuild but there will also be those who do struggle, and will remain fearful. No one as yet knows the mental fall-out from Lockdown 3 but as one of the experts noted “everyone needs to prepared for it being a long journey back”