February 1, 2021
After nearly a year in lockdown, thousands of hours on Zoom, missed birthdays, cancelled holidays and too many Netflix shows to count, the power of human connection has never been stronger. My relationships have become deeper and more meaningful, not just with my fiancé - if we can get through a postponed wedding, moving house in the middle of a pandemic and spending more time just the two of us than we have in 10 years, I feel secure in the knowledge that I like him enough for at least another 10 years. The connections with my friends and family have taken on a deeper meaning as well, we have substituted the girls drinks on a Thursday night after work with virtual book clubs and a few glasses of wine, Monday morning exercise classes with a bestie for multiple laps of the local park together and snatched WhatsApp catch ups for lengthy voice notes or a good old fashioned phone call.
At work too there is a need for connection – and I have been grateful for the regular Teams catch ups, virtual yoga sessions and Friday drinks with colleagues and partners both at work and within the industry. What I have found heart-warming is the sense of community and shared understanding has developed; people have delivered groceries for their neighbours, clapped for the NHS and chatted to strangers in coffee shops to counteract the hours of loneliness that working from home brings. It has been a time of reflection, re-evaluating priorities and realising what is really important. I have learned to appreciate the strength of my relationships both in my personal life and professional life more. Technology has been excellent at aiding us all in keeping connected, but what is really important is maintaining that connection (and I am not talking about iffy WiFi) and making it meaningful. In the workplace it can be so easy to think that every conversation needs to have a purpose that can be put into a report or move the dial on a task, but we are all human and sometimes that friendly email, phone call or WhatsApp to check in or even sending a funny meme might make the difference to someone else having a good day or a bad day and that little touch of kindness goes a long way in these trying times.
It is safe to say that we are all looking forward to a return to some sort of normality, ideally surrounded by colleagues in an office, travelling to new destinations and creating new memories and most importantly spending some much needed time with friends and families. And whilst we are kept apart it is imperative to exercise the power of human connection in whatever way possible – even if it is a second rate zoom chat - to fill the void until we can all be together again.
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