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You Can Thrive Post COVID in Work or School!

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

There are many articles circulating around the impact of COVID on businesses, and the need for risk management, contingency planning, and social distancing protocols. However, it’s also important to remember that people seek psychological fulfilment from work and studies, and as the pandemic progresses through its various phases, and companies ramp up new ways of working, some people will experience friction, and even dissonance, around issues of purpose and their importance.

What is Purpose?

The most basic definition of purpose is the “why” question—why someone is working on a task, why a task matters to a job, why a job matters to an organization. The outcome is feeling as though the task, the job, the organization is meaningful. Think of your why/purpose as your secret weapon; when you have it, everyone is in awe of your perseverance and focus. As issues bubble up around you, those with a solid purpose always seem to rise above and reinvent, pivot, or just turn things around.

It has been validated through research that, people exhibiting a strong purpose show signs of being much more resilient and recover faster from the adverse events life throws at them. Through the process of creating strong links to an individuals’ purpose benefits both the people and companies/educational institutions alike, which makes them capable of dealing with future pandemic uncertainties in a more robust manner.

3 Hallmarks of Fulfilment and Purpose:

1. Relationships – A sense of belonging and connection to others

2. Impact – Progress towards a goal we believe in

3. Growth – Personal challenge that we overcome

Our Top 5 Tips for How to Thrive Post COVID

1. Build Up Your Resilience

The best definition of resilience I have come across is from the American Psychological Association which defines it as 'the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, health issues, or workplace and financial stressors.' The more you build it, the easier it is to use. Think of it as a muscle; building your resilience increases your tolerance and helps you to more quickly mentally and emotionally adapt, and feel more confident in the choices that you make.

“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
― Nelson Mandela

It’s essential to focus on the following areas to increase your emotional resilience:

· Safety: By focusing on the small powerful measure you can take that will make you feel safe and secure in your choices, then you will feel that you have control in your life.

· Self-care: This pandemic has taught us all that we cannot neglect our physical and mental health. Self-care is what fills your ‘mental and emotional cup’. It allows you to have the energy to look after those around you, both near and far away.

· Self-motivation: Paying attention to what motivates and drives you to do even the most mundane but essential tasks in life, has been the cornerstone to staying focused on what’s important as the world around us carries news of the pandemic. This motivation works for the small tasks of getting out of bed, and the larger tasks of finding a new job after being made redundant.

· Self-directed work: The pandemic has changed the way we work and play. For those of us who have always had others to direct what we do and how, there has had to be a major shift in becoming more independent. Remote work from home has been a blessing for some and a nightmare for others. Recognize where you stand on the spectrum, and if it is on the latter, figuring out the support you need to do it effectively and with confidence is key.

No one quite knows what the next year will bring, but what we do know is that we will collectively have to knock down walls, respond rapidly, and be ready to adapt to new processes and workflows almost instantaneously.

2. Agree on Your Goals and Take Ownership

Be proactive in finding out what has changed about your company, school or work protocols and policies as a result of COVID. Read, check communications, and discuss with peers, and then question in a respectful way, if you feel you not sure how your role, project, or objective now fits in. Having to take increased ownership on this front is not a natural task for everyone, especially if your plate is already full. However, we now know that when the world is focused elsewhere, your survival depends on it.

Agree up front your goals and targets, and know what, how, and why you are working on something. Make sure you create goals that excite you, and take ownership for everything you do. Simply showing up isn’t good enough, whether it’s for a course, a team project, or a Zoom meeting. Be present, be active and give it your full attention at that moment. Self-motivation and discipline is going to be even more important in the months to come.

“Invent your world. Surround yourself with people, color, sounds, and work that nourish you.”
Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy

3. Set Up Your Working Bubble

Remote work and online learning are here to stay, even if it is part time, and social distancing and bubbles will be around for at least the medium term. Making sure that you can work efficiently, effectively, and safely is going to be essential:

· Protect your workplace – make sure you have ground rules in place for where you are studying / working and how you work best. According to HBR, Workspaces should be designed so that each (person) can do well whatever they do that adds the most value to the end goal.

· Take scheduled breaks – set your alarm clock, move away from your work space for breaks and lunch, walk while you talk, etc. Recent research tells us, that physical and mental activity, in particular active movement provides increased benefit to more than the physical body, but also improves brain performance and function. This is explained because, movement supplies brain cells with oxygen, which promotes the production of new cells, and aids in creating new synapses.

· Protect your time – set up and communicate your work/study hours, as working from home or solo in an office/study bubble often means it’s ‘harder to leave’.

4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

When working remotely or in social distancing bubbles, without the usual in person communication grape vines, it’s better to work on the basis that people don’t know rather than assume they do. If you are asking yourself whether someone needs to know something, better to share to be on the safe side.

· Check in regularly with teachers, peers, managers, collaborative tools

· Set up notifications, so you don’t miss out on any important information or changes

· Let people know the best way to get hold of you; call, email, text, IM, Skype, Teams, Zoom, WebEx, What’s App group etc.

5. Actively Work on Your Interpersonal Skills

Now is the time to make sure you have the skills which are needed not only now, but in three or five-years’ time. Work on your digital skills to make sure you have adjusted to the new online norm. Focus on your interpersonal skills, such as active listening, social perceptiveness, coordination, persuasion and negotiation, time management, and management of personnel resources. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is playing a heightened role. Now, as you go through your days and weeks, you need to be aware of how you feel, how you are affected and what you need to do to increase your confidence as you manage the changes.

· Find and invest in online courses

· Work with an online tutor

· Set yourself learning goals

· Download study aid, planning and time management apps

In the weeks of quarantine, you’ve likely had to bring different skills to your work: managing time to get work done, getting to grips with new online tools, supporting others who are quarantined with you. Many of the skills people need to be employable during and after COVID-19 will be based on resilience, creativity, and the ability to collaborate with others.

At The Bedrock Program, we work with clients to find their purpose, and develop the resilience they need to rock their future.

People who know their purpose in life are unstoppable.

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