Into the Light

Karen Blondel, Branch Director, Bralin Recruitment.

Thursday 14th May, 2020

Well, there we all were, listening intently to Boris giving his daily briefings at 5pm feeling like we were living through the war and then BAM! The thing that has been talked about and hailed as the way forward for years (but hadn’t truly gained significant traction) had literally just been forced upon us all – working from home!

So, we gathered together our bits and bobs from the office – laptops, files, even post-it notes! – and headed for the hills within hours.

And then the reality of homeworking was upon us and we asked ourselves, is this what we expected it to be like? Is it the promised land we had imagined?

I have spoken to numerous Recruiters about how they are finding it, and the majority have answered in one of three veins:

The Overjoyed
“I’m loving it! Without all the normal office distractions, I can get so much more done! I’m spending less money travelling and buying lunch every day and I’m so much more focussed; I find myself just cracking on – sometimes working beyond my normal working hours as the time just flies by.”

The Depressed
“I hate it! I miss the office banter. And I just can’t seem to concentrate out of the office environment – I cannot wait to get back to office life!”

The Unconvinced
“I’ve got mixed feelings. I could probably go forwards doing a mixture of both; I’ve enjoyed being at home but I’m missing that human contact that you get from shared experiences within the office.”

People everywhere are talking about “the new normal”. Has the world of the office worker changed forever? Is this the new normal? Have we all lost something along the way, or have we gained the honed organisational and time management skills we have all struggled with over the years (or is that just me?)?

Now, as we’re all preparing to come out of lockdown, how do we really feel about it?

I’m sat in my empty office writing this feeling incredibly lonely and in need of some good old banter. But, conversely, I’m missing being at home where I feel safe and secure. How do we move on from this feeling in the ‘New World’?

Do I have the strength and ability to motivate the colleague who has absolutely loved being at home to come back into the office fold? Can I convince them that they’ll quickly adapt to a new, safe, clean, office environment? And what about the colleague who is desperate to come back to things just how we were before? Does that even exist now? Will we ever get back to exactly how we were again? Now that Pandora’s box has been opened can we ever close it fully again?

The questions keep coming and I’m in turmoil at the moment. The advice from the Government this week has been so vague and is open to many different interpretations. I’ve done the Risk Assessments. I’ve made sure my branch is clean and safe and that social distancing can be observed. I’ve got a plan for managing visitors and online interviewing. I’ve got a mammoth box of face masks just in case my staff want to use them. But what else can I do to ensure what’s best for my team’s mental health?

In this Recruiters opinion, I’ll just stay positive. I’ll give lots of encouragement to try out the brave new world – “Just give it a go and see how you get on; I’ll be right here beside you. Lean on me, lean on each other; and we’ll do this together as the amazing team we have always been.”