My predictions on the future of work & wellbeing
My bet’s on 3 phases. That’s 3 unique versions of the life we once knew, each with different rules, each with different impacts on our wellbeing, each inching us further toward normal (what was that again?). In hustling with my Springday team to bring innovative on-demand-from-home wellbeing solutions to our Asia Pac clients, I’m in daily contact with wellbeing managers, leaders and wellbeing experts alike… So here is my take on what’s happening and what’s coming.
The 3 phases of work-life during COVID-19, as defined by Springday:
So what does this really mean for our people, teams, organisations, and how will this really impact our work, wellbeing and home life? Read on as I give my top tips for the phase we are in now, and predictions for phase 3 that couldn’t come soon enough.
Phase 2: Keeping Connected + Well
Yay! My kids have returned to school… This is something my mental health’s been screaming out for, and a sure sign we are moving into what we at Springday call ‘Phase 2”.
In phase 2, physical distancing is no longer new news, it feels like we are slowly but surely adjusting to new ways of working and living. Morning coffee catch ups are now able to be done in a restaurant, the struggle of structuring days from the same un-comfy chair is so real, Zoom photobombs from kids are standard in my home, we’re trying to come to terms with online fitness or have taken up running (not great for those old injuries I tell you..!), trying to uncover tips, hacks, expert advice from the latest content to help us unblur the lines between work-home-family-life and screen-life-balance.
On the brighter side of all this: my team is feeling more empowered than ever to run their own schedule, no commute means time back for me, kids and those loved ones who dropped down the list for a while there, we’ve rediscovered buried hobbies (enter knitting for me!) and simplified our spending (who needed all those things anyways!?).
An interesting place in time that’s for sure. Phase 2 is something we should get used to for at least the next few months and in simplicity, we can’t do what we’ve always done so success is about creating new habits. And one thing I know for sure about new habits is that change is pain, but always worth it in the end.
My top 5 habit hacks to help you smash phase 2:
1. Huff & Puff for 30 Minutes Every Day. Get outdoors to walk or run, set a goal location ie. your favourite coffee shop, so you’re getting a treat and supporting local along the way. And if it is raining… take the umbrella! Enjoy the fact we can still do this in our country. Our team in Philippines – are still VERY much locked down. If you’re looking for something a little different, take an on demand ballet class with the Australian Ballet:
2. Be Less Slumpy. Get Up, Move, Stretch Every 30 Minutes. This one might seem basic but learning to sit and break properly whilst working at home can make or break how you feel. Look at me, I work in the wellbeing space, I’m here writing this blog, yet I’m back to the physio with neck pain! He tells me you must get up from your desk every 30 minutes Georgie (promise I’m trying!), set alarms if you must. And check out this video from the Springday archives on desk posture, a bit old school but more relevant than ever (also a good reminder of how far content has come!):
3. Calm Your Mind. Take 10 minute pauses in the middle and at the end of your day to get some headspace, I’m no expert but I use the Insight Timer app to meditate when I can, they have over 45,000 free guided meditations, you can download it on the app store for free.
4. Have Fun With Your Kids. This one ticks so many boxes for me… In creating moments of joy and laughter together, I keep my kids busy and entertained, whilst my mental game soars from all the good vibes. My latest favourites: morning P.E (Physical Education) in the backyard, Tik Tok – we joined a few weeks back and our COVID goal is to launch our first Tik Tok dance video (watch this space)… Another good one is Cards Against Humanity (the family friendly edition), all sorts of family fun on a Saturday night.
5. Give Back. Some of us are in better positions than others, and many are not ok. Do what you can to make the day of someone else. Think small: a phone call, a smile or saying thank you to a work mate. Last month my daughter and I baked Anzac cookies for the neighbours as a random act of kindness, this week we checked in with and donated to the local Big Issue guy who is completely out of business right now.
My top 3 tips for thriving businesses in Phase 2?
1. Keep your tech simple. Aggregate your tools, content, communications into single platforms and apps rather than sending your people chasing a bunch of links around the web (their computers and minds are already stretched with home internet).
2. Invest in your leaders so they can keep spirits up and lead teams through these times with creativity, heart and kindness. We partner with a number of incredible businesses that can run online trainings and live webinars via Springday to support people development.
3. Though my advice if you do only one thing: support your people’s holistic wellbeing. This one is crucial for happy and healthy people on the other side. I know from my Springday experience that when people are supported and balanced across all 5 wellbeing pillars (emotional, physical, social, career and financial) an internal culture of community, attraction, retention and engagement is bred. But it’s one thing providing wellbeing content, and a whole other kettle of fish to motivate employees to use it and even harder again to measure their progress. Springday is front and centre of all of these things. We’ve just launched the ‘Keeping Connected and Well Challenge’, a 4-week program that provides daily content across all wellbeing pillars, motivates individuals and teams via points, leader boards and prizes, and measures progress before and after the challenge via our proprietary Wellbeing Check Tool. We’d love you to join us on this challenge!
Phase 3: Thriving in the new normal
Imagine this: you only go into the office 2 days a week, and the days that you do kick off at 10am. The elevators in your building have 4 person limits, only every second desk is occupied and you must break for lunch with the B team (who wants to be on the B team!?). and you may catch your desk neighbour doing some sort of newly found lunchtime wind down technique. This phase will see us blending face to face with virtual: a balancing act in its own right, but many will embrace the change of scene (and embrace commutes for the first time ever) as a better way to balance work and home life. Sounds a bit rigid to me, but this is very much what Phase 3 could look like as we trickle back into our places of work with a staggered approach. Have no doubt the restrictions will be phenomenal, but absolutely necessary as we find our way through the new normal.
My biggest prediction for Phase 3? That physical wellbeing will continue to be front and centre, with mental wellbeing support, tools and check ins still very much needed. We’ll be raring to shed those COVID kilos, plus we’ll be looking for new ways to do so in light of gyms being closed or minimised. This is where I believe clever tech will play a huge role… People will need expert physical and mental wellbeing solutions on demand, they’ll need fresh and innovative ways to get motivated to rebuild habits, and they’ll be screaming to measure and track progress.
At Springday, we’re working on a new campaign for Phase 3 to solve these things for your people. We’ll be big on implementing the learnings from failures + successes in phase 2, which will be crucial to shaping optimal wellbeing for your people come phase 3.
Keep an eye on my blog for client stories on the ups and downs of phase 2, and more predictions on phase 3.
Well wishes to you and your families!
Founder & co-CEO | Springday: a holistic wellbeing app for businesses