Watching The Great Resignation play out over the last year has highlighted the lack of awareness education we as a nation need on human behaviour and mental health. The physiological impact being out of office for so long has had on employees is definitely no secret. Expecting people to come back to work straight away without having any ease in phase in place will only fuel this whole resignation frenzy. Perhaps having an ease in phase for employees returning back to work could be the answer to the current resignation frenzy.
Over the last two years, the whole workforce has had their daily routine turned upside down and have, through no choice of their own, gradually adopted a “new normal”. Their daily trips to Starbucks with colleagues quickly turned into a day of trying to appear like they had it all together on zoom calls, while the dog goes on a crazy barking marathon plus the pressure of trying to figure out how to explain fractions to equally frustrated and anxious kids. Life as we all knew it was no longer the same.
Being the ever-adapting humans that we are, the majority of people slowly started to get used to their new work-from-home routine and even enjoy it. No work commute meant an extra couple of hours in bed, working from home meant it was possible to squeeze in a lunchtime workout or catch up on the laundry.
The workforce had learned to create a better work life balance and start to value their time and life more. The long period of working from home and being in lockdown has made people evaluate how and what they do with their time. Having the freedom to create a new routine that allowed space for walking the dog, going for a run, and preparing a fresh and much more wallet friendly lunch has made many reconsider the 9-5 office life.
As frustrating as this can be to employers and not forgetting the negative effect it is having on the economy, this is not a case of simply telling people to just get over it and get on with things. As a long-standing military wife, life taking a 360 turn has been a regular occurrence for me.
As a military wife, whenever I say bye to my husband as he embarks on a 6 month tour I know I have to face a new reality. I need to get used to a different routine and for the first month or two it is really hard. Then I adapt and get used to the change just like what has happened with the workforce post lockdown .The whole process then gets repeated whenever the serving spouse returns and the dynamics in the house change again along with the routine. It has an enormous effect on someone’s mental health and can also create a lot of tension in the relationship
It’s remarkably similar to what employees are going through right now when being asked to return to the office. They have become accustomed to a new environment and their perspective about work and life has dramatically shifted. So it is completely normal for them to have reservations about returning to work and even questioning whether they want to. This is what we are all witnessing as more and more employees hand in their resignation letters.
Unlike the military where they have learnt to invest in making sure army personnel and their families undergo an ease-in phase when going back to family life, employers are perhaps unaware that there are consequences of not taking the psychological issues many workers are facing seriously.
Of course, the blame cannot be put on the employers as the post-pandemic life is new to everyone and therefore nobody is to blame, everyone is simply trying to work it all out. However, we are now in a time where it does require employers to focus on creating a more supportive flexible environment within the workplace.
We are all in a new era and it would be negligent to not accept that the way in which workspaces function will never be the same again. Employers can set themselves and their employees up for success if they take a more flexible approach in how they set up their workplace’s structure and policies.
It won’t work and it is naive to assume that employees can just fall back into pre-pandemic work life. There has to be more accommodating options to ensure people have the time needed to adjust back into working environments and the new work life balance. Employers who meet their employees halfway and create a working schedule that has room for the “work from home” concept,will no doubt experience huge benefits.
If they were to take a further step then they could apply the same TRiM (Trauma Risk Management) process the military does to ease people back into the office after working from home. TRiM consists of a combination of information and talks designed to normalise what people are dealing with – as well as decompression time to deal with situations that have been tough, especially if the family dynamics have changed. Over and above that there is the graduated return to ‘normal’ or in this case the office. This allows people the space to handle whatever they’ve been dealing with in their life over and above their day job and create systems if needed.
The normalisation of people’s experiences is crucial and it stops people feeling alone with what they’re dealing with and gives them a space to share.
The businesses that recognize the mental shifts and change of priorities employees have had over the past 2 years and are willing to become more forward-thinking in the kind of work culture they want to establish are the ones that will survive “The Great Resignation”.
We are going through a phenomenal time in history right now and this is the perfect opportunity for businesses to become leading innovators within their industry. Through change, we can all create spaces to empower, inspire and allow people to grow and reach their true potential.
Together, we can empower you to take ownership of your mindset, thoughts, and behaviours. We can remove the barriers and bad habits that hold you back from living the fulfilled, successful, and truly happy life you’ve always wanted. If you’re interested in working together, get in touch to schedule a conversation with me here.