23 March 2021
One year on – pandemic reflections
We’ve reached the anniversary of our first lockdown. Who would have thought this time last year that the Covid crisis would last so long?
We wanted to mark the occasion by looking at the year in review, what it might have meant for people, and the lessons we might have learned.
For some, working remotely has been the norm for a year. Others have probably had stints of working from home or being placed on furlough interspersed with returning to their workplace, depending on the restrictions in place at the time. A further group has been shielding for a large period of that time and unable to do any form of work. For everyone, financial uncertainty and lack of human contact have been significant challenges that have had to be faced.
For those of us homeworking, we’ve got over the teething problems of using technology remotely (apart from when the wi-fi goes down or we get stuck with a kitten filter on), for those on furlough you might have re-decorated the house and sorted out the garden when you’ve had time to kill, for those shielding, you’ve had to find new ways of getting your basics delivered and maintaining contact with the outside world.
If you work in HR, like me, you’ve had your own set of challenges. We have had to get our head around furlough (a notion totally new to the UK) and its different iterations, normally announced on a Friday evening. We’ve had to be ready to change our advice at a moment’s notice, keeping on top of our game, being everyone’s sounding board while juggling all the things we do on a day-to-day basis.
We’ve all learned how to social distance and the importance of hand sanitising - we probably won’t ever go back to washing our hands without incorporating our particular method for counting 20 seconds! We’ve painted rainbows, clapped for the NHS, and we’ve grown our hair (unintentionally).
We’ve had to master technology on all levels, for some, it’s for work, for others, it’s been the only way to keep in touch with family members and friends. Holding remote meetings or social events either via an internet platform or a phone app has become the norm.
As a society, we have become more selfless and community-spirited. There have been so many stories of people putting others before themselves, taking the time to ensure an elderly neighbour has food or their medication, communities coming together to deliver meals for those less fortunate, Sir Captain Tom walking around his garden for the NHS, and Marcus Rashford’s campaign to ensure school children still get a hot meal.
So as we move towards a route out of the crisis, let’s not fail to recognise how adaptable we have been over the past year. Let’s also remember that the road to the new “new” normal will not come without challenges but, let’s face it, looking back at what we’ve coped with the last year, this should hopefully be a walk in the park.