We have had monumental changes in the world of work from 2020 to 2022 but a key question is will these have long-lasting ramifications akin to those of the industrial revolution, or will we now sink back into what we have always known, the pre covid ‘normal’ days.
Prior to 2020, our home lives and professional lives were totally polarized, which is most likely why so many of us had such a strong and joyful reaction to the now-famous BBC clip of Professor Robert Kelly’s live interview being interrupted by his children. The widely circulated clip, which has over 50 million views on YouTube, spoke to a real split in the psyche that any working parent empathised with. In hindsight, this 43-second video clip was unusually prophetic of the changes that the upcoming pandemic would bring exactly two years later.
As a working mum, the global pandemic had many plus sides for me. Yes, there was pressures of homeschooling and serious balancing acts that happened throughout lockdowns, but for the first time in a long time, I began to successfully integrate my working life and my home life.
The pandemic was many things for many people, but the reality that we were collectively grounded in our rooms, for some, was a sort of homecoming. For the first time since becoming a mother, I really got a chance to be present, to show up at the school Friday pick up (when the schools were open!) to get involved in the local tennis club and to be there for Tuesday swimming lessons. Pre-pandemic, I was cycling like a maniac from the suburbs into town every day after sending my child off to after school, akin to a creche, where he went at 8 am and I picked him up at 6 pm daily. Our lives were separate, meeting only in the tired evenings and mad dash mornings.
Fast forward to 2022 and we are seeing employers trying to find the right balance with the return to the office. Understandably different set-ups work for different people, some are happy to return to the office and need a break from the kitchen table, where they have been working for two years.
Others, like myself, would find Hybrid and Remote options a much better fit, and I cannot imagine relinquishing the flexibility I have enjoyed since 2020. As a recruiter, many of the candidates I work with have echoed these sentiments, and with many offices reopening full-time, I am speaking with more candidates who are revaluating what work/life balance really means to them.
I think there is a real Zeitgeist towards a wholesome balance between work and personal life that has been talked about at length before but rarely actioned upon as much as it has had to be in recent times. People are at their most productive when we are living wholly and fully, referred to in a lot of positive psychology texts as Flourishing. As a dedicated target-driven salesperson, I’m a massive opportunist, so it would be remiss of me not to see this new time ahead as exactly that, a big opportunity. We now have the chance instead of measuring clock hours to look at tangible outputs for ourselves and our team. To focus on working and living fully and with intention.