For months we have talked about COVID…the potential impact on our health, months of social isolation from loved ones, restrictions on non-essential travel, and long-term unemployment. While many of us thought in March it would only last a few weeks, here we are 5 months later with still many restrictions in place. With long-term uncertainty and the various stages of businesses reopening, it has been challenging both supporting and advising job seekers on how to cope with the pandemic. Here are the things we know for sure:
- Some employers have continued to hire during the entire COVID period.
- Many businesses remained open since March, providing clients/customers with support remotely.
- Both businesses, employees, and consumers have become more technologically savvy in their methods of online communication.
- Free professional development webinars have provided the opportunity to upgrade our skills and knowledge base.
- Flexibility for speaking with someone via email, text, Skype, phone, or Zoom has broken down the previous barriers impacting job seekers including the cost and time involved for transportation and child care.
- Individuals impacted by anxiety are now able to access services in the comfort of their own home.
- Many of us have become proficient in working from home by developing our own schedule, embracing technology, conducting online meetings, creating online services, embracing free training, and finding creative ways to engage our customers/clients.
- Businesses have become very adept at implementing safe work practices and alternate ways of providing services.
- Protocols for physical distancing, maintaining hygiene, and wearing masks have allowed us the opportunity to reopen the economy while still prioritizing the safety of the employees and customers.
Yet some people are still very apprehensive, and not quite prepared to go back to work. Despite all the positive adaptations that have resulted from the pandemic, being ready to open a business and being ready to return to work are very much based on individual comfort levels. We are not here to talk about stats or predictions for the virus but rather the uncertainty it has created regarding our own ability to protect ourselves from harm. This is a time to be supportive, rather than judgmental of others. This is a time to recognize the massive impact that the virus has had on the mental health of many job seekers and existing employees. This is the time to seek support for your transition back to the workforce if you are feeling uncertain.
As a family, as a community, as a society, it is time to be more supportive of the economy and buy local. It is time to demonstrate empathy and try to understand the very real fears expressed by employees. It is time to rebuild, knowing that our current situation may be the ‘new normal’ for a while. Most of us have been waiting for months to go back to ‘how things used to be.’ It seems that may take longer than originally anticipated. In the meantime, our energies are best spent moving forward rather than looking back; supporting each other and small business, adhering to safety precautions to aid front-line workers, and to be kind to ourselves and others during the process.
If you are feeling anxious about returning to work, it’s okay. Please reach out to us for assistance when you are ready. We are happy to support you remotely or in-person with your efforts to reenter the workforce.