Working through the pandemic as a young professional (Coronacoaster Blog – 3 of 5)

Working through the pandemic as a young professional (Coronacoaster Blog – 3 of 5)

We all hear about the devastating impact of the pandemic and as a local mental health charity, Stockport Mind have seen this first-hand. Most people you speak to have very much had the ‘Coronacoaster’ experience – some days good, some days hard to get through – but can we remember the positives that have come from this pandemic and the impacts they have had within this turbulent experience?

This blog series is aimed primarily at office workers, and though we continue to reflect that everyone’s journey through this pandemic is unique, we wanted to acknowledge that other non-office-based industries have often had less choice and flexibility over where and how they work.

In these blogs, Stockport Mind employees reflect on their journey during the past 18 months, about the additional challenges this pandemic has brought to their support of vulnerable service users. But they also discuss and reflect on their work continuing – whilst able to work from home – and that they have felt fortunate in that new transition; especially being able to continue to support those who have needed it most.

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Coronacoaster Blog 3 of 5 – Working through the pandemic as a young professional

For my role personally, it has certainly been a challenge at times. Communicating crucial information during what has been described as an infodemic as well as a pandemic has been tricky. ‘Lots of noise out there’ seemed to be a phrase often used in March 2020 – sifting masses of information for the crucial elements has been key.

Part of my job involves supporting people who raise vital funds for us. With lots of their planned events being halted overnight in March 2020, we were so fortunate that some adapted their events when we really needed it.

With our most popular social media content historically being photos of our staff, trustees and volunteers at events – smiling at awareness stands or on trips out – stock images don’t quite cut it in comparison.

And when you’re a one-person team trying to make things happen from a spare room at home whilst the world is in turmoil, it can feel difficult at times.

But our team video calls help, as do the staff ‘WhatsApp’ group and lovely catch-ups with colleagues from the Mind in Greater Manchester partnership. We have also been very grateful to our contact at the University of Manchester, who has continued to facilitate much-needed staff Reflective Practice sessions on Zoom. Above all, working with a team of such lovely people can go a long way, despite this having been a very difficult time in various ways.

At the start of the pandemic, much as things were all very concerning on so many levels as the realities unravelled, I did embrace some upsides of working from home. Cutting out the commute was saving the best part of an hour of my day, and better for the environment. I was able to really focus on work tasks that might sometimes be more likely interrupted by the general hum and activity of being in an office. And of course, I was really fortunate to still have a job and have the option to work from a place of increased safety.

But months down the line in summer through autumn 2020, as those boundaries between work and home had been blurred for what felt like a long time, the novelties had definitely worn off to a degree. Not being around the staff and volunteer team (other than video and phone calls) for so long, trying to make things happen from home, and the total uncertainty ahead of us making it difficult to plan or imagine what the world might be like in another few months. 

Remarkable to think, then, that we are another year on from that stage now! Thankfully we have moved to a more blended approach of working, which gives the opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds. But as workers in general – whatever you do for a living, we need to remember that we are still in this pandemic. Things are still uncertain and therefore – even if we put high expectations on ourselves – this is still a very challenging time. All we can continue to do is our best.  

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If you work for a Stockport or Cheshire East business that may need some support around Workplace Wellbeing in these ever-changing times, please feel free to encourage your HR department to get in touch at workplacewellbeing@stockportmind.org.uk

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To read previous blogs in this series:

Coronacoaster Blog 2 of 5, Home-schooling alongside work

Coronacoaster Blog 1 of 5, The year that work changed