This is undoubtedly the most uncertain time that many of us have faced in our careers, or in fact our lives, but alongside this uncertainty, I truly believe, comes plenty of opportunity.
It’s a chance for us to reset and rebalance, to think about what we’re doing, when we’re doing it and who we’re doing it with. It’s consequently vital that wellness and wellbeing are top of the business agenda.
At CBRE, we talk about wellbeing as having six key elements – active, digital, dynamic, healthy, mind and space – but when we’ve spoken of wellbeing in the past it has always been very focused around being ‘in’ work. The conversation right now is much wider than that.
Dynamic and space refer to our social and environmental interactions.
Taking social as an example, it’s important to think about your connections, how you create them virtually and what works for you. Yes, video is great for many things, but is it right for everything or are you feeling a little Zoomed out? Why not pick up the phone to a colleague or a friend and have a chat offline? Think about keeping personal relationships going, especially with the current government-imposed guidelines, and make sure that you’re holding the boundaries between work time and personal time.
Looking at environmental, wherever possible, and I know that for many this is not always easy, try to work in a different place to where you sleep. This will allow you to switch off more easily and keep the structure between working and then relaxing or spending time with family. It will also mean that you still have the ability to ‘go to’ work somewhere. If this isn’t possible, make sure you pack your work equipment up at the end of each day to make the space feel different.
With regards to the active element, consider your posture and make sure you move regularly and manage distractions. We’re moving much less as we’re not wandering across the office to get a coffee, or popping out at lunchtime, so it’s important not to sit in front of a screen all day without any breaks.
To finish, I want to share three tips I would encourage you consider in your own lives and pass on to others:
First, I used to train cabin crew in a previous life and one thing we always drummed home on every flight was the importance of fitting your own oxygen mask before helping others. There’s a reason for this, and I believe it is relevant in every aspect of life. If you don’t look after yourself, the likelihood is you won’t be able to help and support anyone else, so tip one is to make time for yourself and regularly check in on how you’re doing.
The second thing is to demonstrate and show you your lifejacket, where it is stowed and how to use it. The majority of people won’t even check it’s there and you don’t need to – because the crew have already done that for you, but the one time you do need it, you would know where it is. That’s the same with the support available if you are struggling. CBRE is proud to have a variety of different support options available, from our Employee Assistance Programme, which is free to call, any time of day or night, every single day of the year, to our mental health first-aiders and our entire Wellbeing Network. Tip two is to familiarise yourself with all of the support available to you within your own businesses and use it to help you.
The third and final tip is to be kind to yourself and be kind to others; if you’re feeling lonely, scared and worried, that’s OK. Most of us are, but do tell someone. If your children refuse to read anymore and want to play, let them. We’re all facing the unknown and it’s important that we control the things we can, not worry about the things we can’t.
Take some time to reflect on what’s going well so far in your new normal – and what changes you’d like to make, then commit and make them. It’s really important we all come out the other side feeling physically strong, in a positive headspace, ready to take on whatever the world throws at us next.
Kate Davies is a director in CBRE’s workplace strategy team