Lockdown Lessons: Staying Motivated in the Workplace
For all that 2020 has been a bad year, there is no denying that Cayman is doing well and is faring better than most. We are part of a very small minority of countries that are able to function in relative normality and we continue to be sheltered from the worst impacts of Covid-19. Although challenges inevitably lie ahead, I think most of us feel extremely fortunate and grateful for the position we are in.
But just because we are fortunate and just because we feel grateful, it doesn’t detract from what is still a very challenging and difficult time for everyone. We live with a lingering sense of uncertainty, apprehension and even fear about what the future might hold and that can become draining and demoralizing in itself.
In addition to the concerns here in Cayman, we are confronted with news stories from around the world and we cannot (and should not) ignore the impact of the virus globally. Whether it is worrying about family or friends overseas, or the uncertainty of future travel to or from the islands, or even just feeling a little claustrophobic, the global situation affects each and every one of us.
Whilst it’s not all doom and gloom, life has certainly become a little more monotonous and the future looks a little more bleak these days. Often it’s the prospect of a much-anticipated holiday, or the arrival of friends and family on island, that keeps us going and gives us something to work towards. Without these things to look forward to, and in the context of perpetual global uncertainty, it’s hardly surprising that many people are struggling to stay motivated at work.
As I was thinking of different suggestions of ways to stay motivated for this blog, I realized that we already know them all. We spent the best part of four months under lockdown and, in that time, we adapted by developing our own coping mechanisms and methods to stay motivated. We implemented new routines to make work fit around everything else in our lives (including alphabet shopping and curfews!), rather than the other way around.
The point is this – we each have a unique resource of tried and tested tips and tricks that we learned and developed through lockdown to stay motivated. For me it was exercise first thing in the morning, regular breaks for fresh air during the day and making sure I had something delicious planned for dinner! It sounds so simple, but since returning to the office, it’s easy to forget.
Rather than slipping back into our old habits, we need to take those valuable lessons we learned about ourselves and incorporate them back into our working lives. I know we can’t bake banana bread or do a virtual exercise class from the office, but if you know that regular fresh air, or having a quick catch up call with a friend brightens up your day, continue doing it! My colleague, Hannah, wrote an excellent blog with some really helpful tips if you are still looking for ideas:
Set yourself achievable targets for the day or a to-do list; limit your exposure to negative news; make plans that give you something to look forward to – all the things we were told during lockdown apply just as much now as they did then.
As my colleague, Rosie, wrote in a blog recently, for most candidates “increased workplace flexibility” is their key requirement when looking for a new job. It seems as though most employers are taking that on board and are seizing the opportunity to improve their teams’ happiness, productivity and wellbeing by providing greater flexibility. In the meantime, we as employees need to commit to implementing some of our own habits and routines into our new working lives in order to stay motivated.