With the news that a working vaccine could be introduced into the world in early 2021, leads us to question if this is finally the beginning of the end.
Worldwide, businesses are reviewing their working environment to transition into a new normal, whatever that may be. The majority of people have been working from home since March and the concern lies with how we are going to reintroduce the office mindset. It is no doubt that the office environment brings a social aspect that people have now forgotten as those working from home can go days without seeing another human face outside of their family and support bubble. Not being able to go for meals with friends and even being more cautious going to stores and supermarkets, the chance of speaking to just one person is very slim. This in turn is having a detrimental effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing.
From March 23rd 2020, the UK Government’s lockdown plummeted the country into a whole new world of uncertainty, along with this came worry about the future of employment, income, debt, livelihoods and increasing our concerns about mental health. And now here we are again.
Those in higher security jobs may have had their stress levels reduced because of Covid-19. On the one hand, the idea of cutting out commuting times, changes to work activities and increased time with family could have been what those with more time-consuming jobs have longed for. The elephant in the room about working from home and flexi-working is now out in the open and probably going to become a normality as we return to the new normal. However, on the other hand, those that have more demanding and hands on jobs where you cannot work from home, are key workers, who have no support bubble and those with other anxieties have now increased stress levels and their mental health is of concern.
But how do you begin to return to work with everybody feeling so different about the lockdown. I have no doubt that people will want to make their return to the office for the social aspect, working face to face with others makes a difference to your daily mood. However, some may be apprehensive about public transport and social distancing, especially those with underlying health issues.
The return to work may be gradual and who knows if it will even be before the end of the year, but the pandemic has altered senior leaders’ mindsets and the production levels of working from home have transformed the stereotype. The return may be that working from home and in the office may be split 50/50, or companies may be encouraged to do staggered returns in their teams and start/finish times.
As for now, working from home resumes and people will continue to remain eager for their eventual return to the offices and their teams.