See you on the other side

In lockdown 1, I made a video to promote a couple of webinars about ‘working from home’ and ‘returning from furlough’.  The webinars never happened, but I thought I would share, as it’s quite interesting to compare thinking between then and now. 

Well, clearly the pandemic lasted much longer than I was expecting and with much more disruption.  While the general content is probably fair and still valid, the enduring nature of the pandemic has stress-tested how we’ve adopted and adapted to various new working arrangements.  

A former colleague and Head of IT remarked at the time, ‘if we’d had a year to plan for COVID, we probably wouldn’t have done any better than the changes we implemented over a matter of weeks’.   This sentiment has really resonated with me.  Firstly, on how, faced with a novel situation, in many cases we were merely fast-tracking some inevitable changes, for which solutions already existed (and are probably even mentioned in a general statement in an internal strategy paper somewhere).  Secondly, on how a crisis certainly sharpens and quickens a decision-making process. 

The overall operational response has been generally impressive. Something we’re all a bit proud of.  I think what I’m less clear on and feel I probably underestimated was the very personal journeys (some very challenging) through the last 18 months of the pandemic that accompanied the ‘new arrangements’.  I think there’s a lot still unsaid here.  With additional disruptions upon us of an ageing population, automation, and AI, I think we’ll need  with increasing urgency ‘managing wellbeing’ as a core capability within our organisations. 

Image: The last days of lockdown, the last days of lockdown hair!