Questions such as how to build and sustain healthy teams, enable collaborative working, and create a sense of belonging for all in this new world of work have become increasingly into focus as the crisis is resolving.
Whilst many leaders in our study experienced a strong sense of team and ‘pulling together’ during the crisis, as Zoom fatigue and general exhaustion kicked in, these leaders became increasingly concerned: As one leader said “I think it’s easier today to just focus on the business and you can easily forget that you’re working with people…”
Work can have a huge impact on mental health; it can either promote wellbeing or trigger problems. During the pandemic crisis the pace of change has been unprecedented, and the impact of this on wellbeing is significant.
For some the blurring of boundaries between work and private life has been a huge benefit to family life. For others, working from home and video conferencing all day long is not so easy, resulting in fatigue, stress and irritability. This quote from one leader was repeated by many others: “I have felt this blur, work and private life, all that in one”.
The wellbeing of colleagues and employees is another major concern for these leaders for similar reasons, along with a recognition of their fears and uncertainty about health, job and financial security, and skills deficits for the future. Employee wellbeing is less visible in the virtual environment: “People are less visible, it’s harder to pick up on non-verbal clues”. There is less opportunity to observe how people feel and pick up on non-verbal cues and energy levels.
As women, many of these leaders feel that they are missing out on being able to both give and receive care. Not being able to put a hand on someone’s shoulder at the very least matters greatly.