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After my 2nd LinkedIn post (see here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/thomas-doukas_executivecoaching-leadershipdevelopment-covid-activity-6663047105948581889-9BCS) asking your own experiences about the future of your job after COVID-19, I am collating here and sharing some insight and possible answers and support to your replies. Your replies showed how uncertain we all are, especially in regard to returning to work after the lock down. But, let’s have a look at what you have said to my following four questions:
- What happened to your job with COVID-19 and how have you been affected?
Many of you replied that you have been asked to work from home, and although the majority of you mentioned that it wasn’t hard adjusting to the new reality, however, often your employer wasn’t well prepared at the very beginning to provide you with the systems to do your job. This lack of structure coupled with the uncertainty by some employers have caused anxiety to many of you. For many, this has changed fairly quickly. Childcare and physical space were the other main issues from your replies, both affecting many of you a great deal in your everyday work. However, many of you admitted and appreciated that your employers have been flexible with working commitments, hours and arrangements at home.
For you who have been furloughed, there’s been more adjusting to a reality of not having much to do on a daily basis. Many of you said that this was confusing at the beginning but, ultimately, a good opportunity to reconnect with your family and get some thinking space, albeit with the uncertainty of your job still existing (or not) when it’s time to go back.
- What support you would need when the lock down is over, and you are ready to go back to work?
For this second question, the themes and topics from your replies, were in tandem, with all we have heard from other workers. An honest and in-depth discussion with your manager, that they will try to work with you to reassure you and to offer you both emotional and practical support to facilitate the return transition, was one of the main asks. Not difficult, right? Practical arrangements and flexibility also appeared consistently in your replies.
Many of you said you are frightened about the lack of structure and pragmatic solutions from your employer in reference to the physical working environment and factoring in distancing in the office. That’s why regular check-ins would also be appreciated to adjust to an ever-changing situation.
- What will help you re-focus, reintegrate into work or start again?
This was a tricky question especially for the ones who might not have a job after the lockdown. Creating more mental bandwidth and focus were the main themes of your replies alongside remaining relevant to employers and the market. Many replied that they will need support to make changes in their skillset and strengthen those skills, perhaps seize an opportunity now to transition to a different, more fulfilling career. Yet few talked about becoming more effective and resourceful to handle such change.
Replies from the ones going back to their usual job, featured the concepts of certainty and building confidence as necessary support to their return to the workplace.
- What new ways of working you have to learn?
Finally, your replies to new learnings featured subjects such as connecting better and creating new human spaces into virtual reality. Thinking outside the box and being creative, were also learning points for you. And of course, working in a more flexible way.
From a more practical point of view, many of you replied that you now have greater insight and knowledge into technology, especially using online meeting platforms and such other cyber-tools.
So, to summarise, you, overwhelmingly, are asking your employer to prioritise your wellbeing, both in a practical and emotional level and to provide listening space to adjust to new realities in order to reduce uncertainty, stress and anxiety. You see this as a more collaborative approach with regular check-ins, planning and paying attention to your personal circumstances, so you feel protected and safe.
But, how can coaching support you or your employer for returning to work? A coach can support the individual with re-focusing and creating routines at home to re-balance work and life in a flexible way. She can also support by listening to the individual’s worries, thus contribute to stress reduction. A coach can support planning by stimulating analytical thinking, reasoning, and creativity so she can support career change and exploring new options and resources.
In relation to your team leaders and managers, coaching is needed more than ever as your employees will start reintegrating back to the workplace. By building on your employees’ resilience and confidence to change, a coach can support to navigate alternative business paths, utilising new learning and responding to new necessities and needs. This will present new business opportunities and enable the individual to adopt new methodologies and skills, so their jobs remain relevant and purposeful; a clear winner for your business!
Coaches are going to find themselves needed more than ever as we all reintegrate back into new realities.
Thank you all, once again, for your replies on my survey. This is greatly appreciated and has been very insightful and I hope you find this article useful too!
If you want more info about this article or my work as a coach, or if you want to take advantage of my introductory offers, please get in touch by phone on 07566 850 381 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org