Navigating the New Normal

Navigating the New Normal

29 Apr 2021 16:59PM by Chemayne Sarwar (Head of Wellbeing)

If, like me, the thought of leaving your warm cocoon of a home office (something that over the past 12 months you have honed carefully so you are equidistant from the fridge and coffee machine) fills you with a little dread, you are not alone. 

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Emerging from the Home Office Cocoon

It’s hard to think back to a ‘normal’ office environment. Life has changed so much and with it, our working styles and habits. I now have four meals a day instead of three, rewarding myself with elevenses. I only have to wear jogging bottoms and a nice(ish) top to be respectably dressed and I have Dreams by Fleetwood Mac as my background music on repeat (the only judgement comes from the dog). Having a day full of virtual meetings, and an evening including ‘social’ after work drinks via video call, is now my norm.

However, despite all the benefits of working from home, I do miss the social interactions of an office; the passing conversation and those magic moments where you have an idea and spontaneously collaborate and build on it with your team. There is something innate in wanting to be around other humans. Laughter, I think, has been the thing I have missed the most. For some reason, keen humour and wit doesn’t travel well through video calls, possibly due to its reliance on body language and facial expressions.

Hybrid Working 

As many of us brace ourselves for a new hybrid model of working from home and in the office flexibly, I think there are things I, personally, will miss about the convenience of working from home: never missing a delivery, running out to take the washing in if it starts to rain and a constant stream of snacks. 

However, what you gain from an office at its core is the people, having the opportunity to learn from others and feel connected to your team. For me that is invaluable. 

Bring back your routine 

How will you adjust to this new normal? Imagine it like your workout routine. Alongside working flexibly, we are now training and exercising in a more flexible way. For the days spent working from home, Online+ workouts on the Virgin Active App are a great option and something you can access whenever suits you. For the days in the office, you could join us in club.

When it comes to returning to the office, take time to think about building back that routine before work, lunchtime or after work. It’s important to listen to your body and think about what your goals are - they could be quite different from 12 months ago. 

What do you need now that you may not have needed back then? For me, a workout buddy is key… not only for support but to motivate me to show up. 

While we transition through this adjustment period, it’s useful to build a routine not only around your work schedule but also making time for things you enjoy. This could be going to the gym or it might be after work drinks with friends. The main thing is to find ways to enjoy your new normal.
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