Returning to our old ways with renewed optimism
Back to Normal
Physical proximity and shared spaced are back. After being coped up in the cocoon of our homes for more than fifteen months, everyone is venturing out. So much has changed as we try to go back to the old ways. We had to pivot with innovation and a prayer when the pandemic struck. But our return back to normal is tentative, more thought out and yet a little confusing as we navigate unchartered territory. As we set forth we are confronted with acrylic barriers, multiple signages and wonder in bewilderment if we are sending mixed signals by wearing masks in crowded places, even as we are being cautious. This is a new reality that we have to come to terms with sooner than later.
Employees are being asked to return to work, weddings and social gatherings are back with a vengeance, summer camps and vacations are in full swing. So lets dive in and examine how organizations and entities are handling this new turn of events. Giving top priority to workforce safety some employers are offering the option of maintaining hybrid. Others are choosing split schedules to allow for more social distancing, but many prefer in person onboarding.
Different rules of Engagement
Combating Covid fatigue, many organizations are of the opinion that rebuilding employee engagement is a top priority. In turn, many employees who struggled with the blurring of work and home life are happy to return to work, engage with their co-workers and reorient communication and business processes.
Social stress is equally real. These patterns have shifted drastically and what we did as a society like carpooling, exchanging pleasantries and planning get togethers with friends and family members can provoke anxiety and over planning. Communal events like birthday parties and weddings are often bereft of cake sharing and simple exchanges that were normally part of the festivities.
The risk of isolation
Technology rescued every one of us when the pandemic struck. We worked at home, studied, played games, exercised, celebrated milestones, got married and engaged, learned crafts, music, even traveled virtually - the list was endless. We became Zoom adept. So many predicted this would be the new world order. But another burdensome legacy of the pandemic was that of loneliness and mental health issues. As we begin the long road to normalcy we must reckon that it is equally important to prevent the risk of isolation. Technology cannot replace or be a substitute for human connectedness. If anything it can have the opposite effect. Even as we recognize that there is a new normal and a distinct shifting of social patterns, we also need to modify.
There exists is a sensory overload for many of us, as pandemic concerns linger - but the immersive process of returning to the everyday world has begun in right earnest. Avoidance only increases anxiety. Being prepared and aware of our concerns is the first steps to transitioning back. Easing in gradually, setting personal boundaries and practicing self care can be a positive but tentative way to test the waters. Do let me know how you feel about the return to normalcy? What tools did you gather to equip yourself? I am eager to gather notes from every source to strengthen myself.
We are stronger together