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Getting through Lockdown 3.0

5/01/2021 by Andy Winterburgh

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Getting through Lockdown 3.0 with lessons learned from 1.0 and 2.0

Well last night Boris Johnson told us all what a lot of people had been saying for the last few weeks was going to happen.  However much we knew it was coming, it was still hard to take.  Made worse by the prospect of the lockdown being until at least February half-term, subject to the smooth rollout of the vaccine and a “fair wind.”  Well at least it was pretty windy where I live in London last night, so hopefully we’re off to a good start!

Joking aside, it’s clearly a very serious situation with infection and hospitalisation rates increasing dramatically. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one and my sincere thanks go to all the NHS and other key workers.

My heart also goes out to those people living in shared accommodation, or on their own, for whom the overcrowding or isolation will be a real challenge. 

Equally my thoughts are with all the parents who are now both juggling working from home with Home Schooling. And to the children who are on the receiving end of that experience. Speaking for my own kids, I’m pretty sure that once schools open again, I’ll never again have a problem motivating them to go to school.

As well as the very obvious disadvantages of going into a third lockdown, there are some advantages:

  • We know what is involved and that we can get through it.
  • We have a clear exit thanks to the vaccine, whether that be in February, or March or (let’s stop at March).
  • We understand that we don’t need to panic buy toilet paper or anything else.
  • Businesses have well established and tested operating procedures enabling their people to operate pretty effectively while working from home (albeit WFH is not a design for life IMHO).
  • We’ve all drunk enough wine now to know that it really isn’t the answer.

What Lessons Have We Learned?

We can also reflect on the lessons from the first and second lockdowns and do things better this time around.

We’ve spoken a lot over the past few months about resilience and adaptability and we've all seen people step up and be amazing!  But we can’t take it for granted that because people have been resilient up to this point, that they’ll simply continue to be bulletproof whatever gets thrown at them.

A third lockdown, in the winter months, is going to require all of us to call on our reserves of mental strength.  So now is the time to re-double our efforts to look out for each other.

The top tips for supporting your people that we collated from the Hybridge Audit Leaders’ Webinars held during lockdown 1.0 and 2.0 are:

  • Make sure your managers are briefed on the potential mental health implications and explain their role in supporting their staff.
  • See your people face to face - try to do all your internal communication on video rather than chat or phone.
  • Understand each of your people’s personal situation – are they dealing with Home Schooling or isolation, or supporting someone who is shielding or have no dedicated workspace?
  • Work out how can you support them and adapt to their individual situation.
  • Have realistic expectations of what each of them is able to achieve.
  • Exercise has been proven to be essential for good mental health - ensure your people are aware that they can take time to exercise each day.
  • Deliver mental health awareness activities, which create a culture where talking about and seeking support for mental health is seen as acceptable.

The next few weeks are going to be tough for all of us, but we will get through them and the summer will be really special.

In the interim, if there is anyone out there who is reading this and wants to talk to someone, I’m here to help, please get in touch.