When life gives you lemons…
Adaptability. Survival of the fittest. It’s a concept that has been used by scientist since Charles Darwin published his Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection in 1859. It stated, ‘those that successfully adapted or evolved to meet the changing requirements of their natural habitat thrived and reproduced, while those species that failed to evolve and reproduce died off’. Over time, environments change, and we have to adapt to the challenges we face, be strong in the face of adversity but also have the emotional tools to cope with uncertainty.
The economic and societal impact of COVID-19 has been felt globally. It has changed the way we work, our relationships and the repercussions on the economy will be felt for years to come. In addition, this period of upheaval and change has highlighted the polarisation between the working and middle classes. And, in a world where we have been reliant upon the internet to connect us to others, it is the digitally excluded who have seen their mental and physical health decline the most.
When the UK went into lockdown earlier this year, the barriers for employers to overcome were very much technical and physical; businesses had to adapt to arm their workforce with the tools they needed to remain operational from home, whilst also continuing to provide customers with a professional and consistent experience. However, as the threat of a second lockdown remains very real, it is essential that we look after our own mental health and wellbeing.
2020 has been a huge year of change for me too. I started the year in a different job, in a different sector and very much a little fish in a big pond. I have gone through a roller coaster of conflicting and complicated emotions exacerbated by a lack of human contact and the reality of redundancy. I have felt alone, isolated and my self-esteem took a big hit. It is very easy to get lost in that emotion but what hardship gives you is the opportunity to re-evaluate your situation, your career ambitions and a chance to take control and shape your own destiny. As the saying goes ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!’
My return to C21 feels like I’ve come home to my family. I love the people I work with. We are a team in the truest sense of the word, and I felt a real sense of alignment when I saw the strapline for the most recent Indeed TV Ad: ‘Find where you belong’. I am lucky enough that I have felt valued and appreciated at work and it is that which made me realise my own self-worth, and what I bring to the table.
The C21 office is an amazing and creative place to be and, even though I knew home working was the new reality, it has left me wondering how can we replicate that dynamic office environment and creative culture that is so intrinsic to C21? Well, in short, we can’t. We must adapt. It has really hit home to me over the last few months that connecting with each other is more than video-calling alone. Apps like Zoom and TEAMS played a huge part in getting through the early stages of lockdown but, for some, It’s no longer enough. Just as we achieve great things creatively for our clients, we must adopt the same approach to reinvigorate and revitalise the culture that I am proud to be part of.
Tackling this takes a multi-channel approach, an appreciation of individual circumstances, and to encourage and provide opportunities for engagement. More importantly, it is no longer enough to simply improve the way we communicate more efficiently and effectively with each other, but we should also consider how we can do so in a way that promotes positive wellbeing and a culture of listening.
Today is World Mental Health Day. It is an opportunity to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and also, as a business, take steps to address mental health issues within the workplace. Adapting emotionally to our changing situation is easier for some, and to take Darwin’s approach seems overly simplistic when dealing with the complexity of human emotions. Looking too far into the future and predicting when normality will resume can be counterproductive and have a detrimental effect on productivity and state of mind. Make the present day your focus. Concentrate on the things you can control in your own world and make small, positive steps or changes to improve your overall outlook. Adapting in this way is an organic, fluid process. For some, it is an evolution that takes longer than it does for others. But that’s okay.
Over the next few months, we’ll be giving our bright and brilliant C21 team the opportunity to shine by taking over our social media channels. We are proud of the individual stars in our team and want to give you a glimpse into our world. It is important for us all that they are seen and appreciated for the good work that they do and demonstrate how we are adapting in this ever-changing world.
Click here for some useful tips from the Mental Health Foundation on how to look after your mental health.