Through the many psychological challenges of 2020/21, people are wrestling with high contextual uncertainty and eagerly await a time where the world stabilises and we can plan for a better future. What if those stable days are gone and this is merely conditioning for an agile and flexible approach to work and our lives?
For most professionals, the art of working virtually and delivering in our respective roles and work has become ingrained. We have formulated new approaches to everything that we do (even though these may not be optimal) without even leaving the confines of our homes. We naturally still hanker for the day when we can immerse ourselves in all that communal work allows, but after all this time, we are starting to question many conventions. Some of our practices that have shifted feel like they can never revert to pre-pandemic rituals.
- Global access to people. Lightning speed collaboration − We can now avail ourselves of the experience and motivation from some of the best minds in our fields. We are no longer bound by distance or travel, and getting an hour of time is easier if someone simply clicks ‘join’ on Zoom or Teams. In real time we access all the resources and knowledge we crave and build relationships in the process. Our ability to connect with colleagues nationally and internationally within our businesses has allowed us to collaborate and move strategy forward at speeds we are not used to.
Deeper relationships − Due to the tacit invitation into people’s homes through virtual working, people tend to show up more as their authentic selves and the work ‘mask’ has been shed. We are more able to share our vulnerability in dealing with a surge in emotions. This has brought us closer, redefined our boundaries and exposed deep inequality too.
- Flexibility − Personal choice in when and how we attend to the requirements of our role and work have opened the space for trust to develop with our employers and clients. The refreshing experience of being seen as an adult and higher trust levels has changed the work and life landscape for us.
Resilience − At times all the positive effects of the pandemic on work can easily be overshadowed by negative consequences and our resilience has certainly been tested too. Some people are just trying to ‘ride it out’ and others are taking proactive steps to build their resilience and manage themselves through the stresses.
As we look up to 2022 with higher expectations, let’s raise our awareness of how we have shifted and give ourselves the time to reflect and make meaning of the changes we have lived. When we acknowledge this new reality and ‘what is,’ we are creating space for ourselves to contemplate something different and something new. This privilege of freedom in the world of work is priceless and once in a lifetime perhaps. Make it count for your personal growth.