We asked our Group Commercial Director, Chris Griffin, how he is finding everything around the current situation –
‘We are in unknown territory… the Covid-19 crisis is the biggest and most extraordinary challenge to face the UK since the Second World War. However, despite the impact on our livelihoods, the economy and the health of our people we have the most amazing key workers. No one could have expected the impact of this disease and how we would come to rely on our newsagents, delivery drivers, supermarket staff, care/support staff and of course our beloved NHS.
That said, no one can underestimate the impact on our individual and collective mental health. This has been widely covered in the media with several charities experiencing a 50% increase in the number of requests for support. But… there is cause for hope. Firstly, we have to try to stay positive and look at what (as a country) we have achieved, and where communities have pulled together to make sure we beat the Covid-19 crisis together.
Mental Health has always been a subject which is, even though it is improving, never fully understood or spoken about. In times like these it is key that yes, we look after each other physically, but we also look after our Mental Health. With people self-isolating it is even harder to spot people that are in need of help or are struggling but, the ingenuity of people to find funny and emotive ways to keep in touch gives me hope that people do not suffer alone. Looking after my mental well-being has been key, taking regular walks and beginning to enjoy running as a hobby again, instead of something I am forced to do to stop me having to buy new clothes.
Keeping in touch with loved ones has also been very important to me as, as a family, we’ve celebrated a 16th, 18th and 30thbirthday in lockdown. I’ve also managed to catch up with old friends and reconnect using different means of communication. A “virtual” drink, singing Happy Birthday over a group chat with 20 others or taking part in the (now mandatory) online quiz have become part of day to day life, the “new normal”. Thankfully, I have been one of the lucky ones. I have not had to experience the stress of being furloughed, nor unfortunate enough to have personally contracted Covid-19 or lost a love one, I am grateful for that every day.
When it became clear that the Coronavirus crisis was escalating, we managed to put a plan in place and execute this quickly to ensure that all of our staff were able to work from home, prior to the governments lockdown protocol being announced. Making sure our teams are safe is a priority, so regular team calls and catch ups have been important in the continual sharing of how we are all getting on as the days and weeks pass. Now that we are entering our 5th week of lockdown we have also started to look at our internal process, how we provide our services, how we can work with clients to provide services they actually need and how we can better support our candidates; the people who put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis to support vulnerable children and adults. We started the Social Personnel Hotline to give our staff a safe environment to talk openly about the pressures they are facing. I can personally promise it isn’t all doom and gloom, so if you have 30 minutes, and would like some escapism then please do log on and say hi.
We like to think that our job is important… we provide our candidates and clients fighting this virus with recruitment services, support, and a listening ear when it is needed. We are not key workers by any stretch of the imagination, that epitaph belongs to the real heroes, who work tirelessly to protect us and keep the country turning. From everyone at Social Personnel we want to thank you for your courage, resilience, and stoicism. The nation owes you a debt we can never repay.
I wanted to leave you with some reasons to be cheerful and reasons for hope…
- The unflagging determination of Major Tom Moore, a national hero in everyone’s eyes, who has raised an astonishing £27 million for NHS Charities Together after starting out by modestly hoping to raise £1,000 by completing 100 laps of his garden. We hope he receives the knighthood he is owed, and that people continue to give generously in this great time of need.
- Speaking of the Armed Forces, we should mention their ability of to support and assist in the building of the Nightingale Hospital so that we have the beds and facilities to care for our country, in such a short space of time. Their professionalism, planning and efficiency in deploying where needed.
- The children and young people who continue to draw rainbows on roads, windows and signs up and down the country. Every time I go for a walk, I see more and more of these, evidence of our love for not only the NHS as an institution, but also an appreciation for everyone who continues to work tremendously hard as key workers.
- We can also extend this to the huge number of volunteers who signed up to help those more vulnerable and less able than themselves. People who have experienced hardship or been placed on furlough and have decided to support their community and help strangers with no expectation of reward or compensation. Makes me proud to say I am part of Britain. (swapped the sentence order round)
- And finally….you. Your willingness to isolate yourselves (and your children) with no understanding of when restrictions will end to protect those that are vulnerable to this horrible disease is heart-warming. As is the national pride in the #clapforcarers movement which see hundreds of thousands of us going out into our gardens and on to our streets at 8pm every Thursday night to celebrate our amazing key workers.
The generosity of both the donations and the national spirit has been humbling to experience and just shows how much our nation is filled with amazing, wonderful and decent people. From Everyone at Social Personnel, we hope that you stay safe and that you are all reunited with friends, colleagues and loved ones soon. Take Care