Today is Wednesday 6th December 2023, 1353 days since the first UK lockdown began, and 1481 days since the first reported case of COVID-19.
You're probably wondering when 'life' will get back to 'normal'. It won't. Many things have changed forever.
What's more important for you and your organisation is that you create your own 'new normal', by bringing people gently back into the workplace, allowing them the time and space to share their stories, and enabling the creation of a completely new working culture. Many people in your organisation have lost friends and family. Some people won't be coming back at all. Symptoms of PTSD are becoming more common. Families have been separated. Stress and depression are affecting millions of people.
When your business reopens its doors, you're not bringing back employees, you are taking in survivors.
Too dramatic? Not at all. The impact of social isolation on mental health is immeasurable. You're not simply reintegrating one person after extended sick leave, you're creating a whole new workforce with the biggest staff induction program you've ever seen. You can try and go back to the way things were, or you can grasp this unique opportunity to reinvent for the better.
The process of rebuilding your business and your teams will take time and care, and it needs to be organised, so that two things happen:
First, you create the physically and psychologically safe working environment that is vital for your business to return to full productivity.
Second, you capture and preserve the adaptation, innovation and learning that has enabled your business to survive.
COVID-19 has not been the first pandemic, and it will not be the last.
If you leave all of this to chance, you will continue to repeat the mistakes of the past.
It's time to create your own history.