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It’s not over yet!

‘Just Saying’ with Delia Cannings

As we look to restrictions being fully removed, we have already moved to a post lockdown scenario. However, we must remember that we are not yet post Covid-19. For those of us that were furloughed we have begun the process of returning to the workplace.

Some find this exhilarating and cannot wait to resume friendships and meet work challenges, but for some the thought of returning poses a challenge they have probably not experienced previously.

Returning to the workplace can for some make them feel anxious and effect their wellbeing.

They may still be concerned about contracting the virus or even being unfortunate enough to pick it up for a second time. They may be nervous about doing their job – they are dealing with changing beds, cleaning rooms, bathrooms, meeting rooms that several people may have used. Having to deal with the ‘soil’ they have left behind. Does that pose a risk?

Simply mixing with lots of people may be a key concern for some. For others, having to understand new processes and procedures and implementing these in their working day can cause anxiety and for some individuals all this is overwhelming.

Therefore it is important that managers – supported by our HR teams – are there to listen to these concerns and discuss how they can be resolved. It is vital that it is realised that things will not perhaps be as they once were. If there are new practices in place training must be provided so that individuals not only know how to do things but why they are doing them. Any language barriers must be addressed to ensure support mechanisms are in place and equal opportunities are afforded to all.

The return to work will see changes in behaviours developed during the pandemic. It is crucial that supervisors and managers are trained to identify signs of these changes in order to provide the correct level of support. Equally, an understanding of managing conflict and aggression will be useful in diffusing situations born out of anxiety and fear related to the return to work.

If there are concerns, having the opportunity to discuss them would be beneficial. Knowing that there are Covid secure measures in place can help to remove these anxieties as staff will have an understanding of what to expect.

For some, there are the implications of how they will travel to work – and the hours they work. For some being furloughed and in lockdown has had a significant impact. Again, this is something that can be discussed with a line manager and possibly consider changing work times – almost a phased return to work for an identified period of time. This, for example, means staff might be able to travel when there are fewer people on public transport. This is a time when individuals do need to focus on their wellbeing. Focus on the positive aspects of returning to work – getting structure and routine into the working day. This can benefit individuals both physically and mentally.

Being part of a wider community is valuable – the sense of achievement when we work together as a team can contribute into turning the chaos our guests sometimes leave behind into calm and a ‘sense of delight’ for our next customer. A reminder that ‘we’ are important and can provide a safe secure environment for them and actually making someone feel happy and secure.

The wider social aspect that work brings into our lives even if it is having a ‘moan’ about something counts as well. Our colleagues listening to us and helping us smile about what we were ‘moaning ‘ about a few minutes ago makes a difference. Activities we share add real value to our working life.

The reminders:

  • Be prepared for a work routine.
  • Focus on your wellbeing and what you need to do to achieve it.
  • Speak to colleagues and managers about your concerns and anxieties.
  • Know what is being put in place to keep you safe.
  • Focus on the positive.
  • Learn and grow from your experiences

Understand how important you are in creating safer spaces for colleagues, guests and visitors. You are helping the recovery as we move back to a new normal. Housekeepers remain extremely vital in the battle for full recovery. Together, we took on Covid-19 and worked tirelessly to reduce its impacts. However, variant strains are possibly waiting on the horizon so we cannot be complacent or think it is completely over. We must remain organised, vigilant, and ready to react if required.

Failing to plan is planning to fail!

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