COVID-19: What should we keep
The past year has brought with it many changes to the way we live our lives both personally and professionally. Some have been welcome changes, others not so much. Once restrictions begin to lift, many of us will feel the urge to rush back to our old way of living and working – but what have we learnt from COVID? What about the new normal would we like to keep?
Many law firms previously required staff to be in the office for core working hours – but the pandemic has changed that. Whilst flexible working requests were often turned down in the past – lockdowns have shown us it is entirely possible for many of us to work from home. Although this doesn’t suit everyone we hope that the legal workplace will continue to be more flexible to the needs of those who need to work from home and outside traditional working hours.
Being ourselves at work
Being at home in our own environment naturally relaxes our professional persona and encourages us to share more of our personal lives with our colleagues. On Zoom calls we can see people in their homes, the photos and books on their shelves, sometimes pets and children wandering in – it’s a glimpse into our home lives, making us seem more human and bringing us closer to each other. We’ve become more aware of people’s day to day lives, how they live, their caring responsibilities and how they are managing those. We hope that post COVID we continue to see this authenticity in the workplace.
For most of us, the only activity open to us has been going for a walk. For many this has become a non-negotiable daily practice, a way of keeping sane as well as fit, an escape from our four walls, time to think. Being outside has a therapeutic effect, sunlight helps the body produce the immune-boosting Vitamin D, and also helps us breathe more deeply, get more oxygen into our lungs and chase away the stress hormones of adrenaline and cortisol. A daily walk is definitely something to keep up once restrictions lift.
Without a long commute, some of us have relished waking up later in the mornings. Research shows after people sleep, they tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. While we can cope fairly well with a day or two of late nights, regularly getting less than 7 hours sleep has a significant negative impact on performance. We should prioritise sleep – it makes us happier, less anxious, less depressed and has a profound impact on our wellbeing.
Lockdown has certainly made us appreciate our old lives and all the experiences we had that we took for granted. In the face of the daily news, many of us have felt grateful for what we have in lockdown despite the individual difficulties we all face – health, a roof over our head, food to eat are all reasons to be grateful. Gratitude helps to rewire the brain -when thinking shifts from negative to positive, there is a surging of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin so there is all the more reason to practice gratitude daily.
If you are finding things difficult LawCare is here to listen. We provide emotional support to all legal professionals, support staff and concerned family members. You can call our confidential helpline on 0800 279 6888, email us at email@example.com or access webchat and other resources at www.lawcare.org.uk
Author: Gemma Matthews, LawCare