I don't usually speak about my specific client work on here, but I wrote something for a client a few weeks ago that personally gave me pause.
It was called "When did you REALLY last check in with your team?" and it was about taking another look at workplace mental health some 16 months into the pandemic.
I have always prided myself in being an advocate for workplace mental health, not just during my time as an employment lawyer but before and after as well. The article focused on the fact that while employers had worked hard to shine a spotlight in the early weeks and months of the pandemic and its associated workplace stressors, that light had dimmed significantly one year later.
People are still working from home, with some offices not expecting to reopen in large numbers until possibly January, and other offices shuttering their physical doors completely and moving to an entirely virtual setup. Working parents have had to contend with children in and out of in-person school, or younger children in daycare frequently subject to potential COVID exposure from another unlucky toddler.
Needless to say it hasn't been easy.
Yes, things are certainly getting better. As the temperatures increase, so too do our vaccination rates, with roughly half of Canadians now having received two doses of the vaccine and en route to large-scale immunity. Patios are flourishing, summer camps are back in session, and it does seem as though nature is slowly beginning to heal.
Yet many of us are not healing as quickly, or at least not quite yet anyway.
And that's okay.
As business owners and entrepreneurs, the past 16 months have left most of us just fighting for survival. For most shops and restaurants, it was a matter of desperately clinging to subsidies and generosity in order to keep the doors open. For those of us who provide B2B services it meant the pressure of trying to do so with the knowledge that the economy could collapse under the weight of the pandemic. Again, this was no easy feat.
We heard so much about checking in with our team members, and making sure that they had the tools that they needed to succeed as much as possible despite tough circumstances.
Yet we haven't stopped to check in with ourselves. The truth is that many of us aren't okay - and that's okay.
It's completely okay to be out of gas right now. It's okay to miss a pre-pandemic world that feels like it was so long ago it was practically another lifetime. It's okay to miss the vacations that we cannot yet take, or those family and friends far away that we haven't yet been able to hug.
It's okay to be tired. It's okay to feel run down. It's okay to take a break, whether that's 5 days, 5 hours, or even 5 minutes. If you think that running a business is hard, it's even harder when you're completely spent. You're doing your business a favour when you do yourself a favour and take the necessary time to recharge your batteries.
I believe in my heart that things are getting better, and I can't wait to get back to what life was like before. That time is just around the corner.
In the meantime, let's all take a few minutes this summer to show ourselves some kindness and rest. Our businesses, and our clients, will be better for it.