This year has seen the world gradually ease into a new normal, following two years of uncertainty and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As quickly as some things may have reverted to a certain sense of normality, we must acknowledge how the pandemic has affected the way we live and work, particularly the challenges these changes present as we all go about our lives. Stepping into a post-coronavirus future, we have worked with our colleagues to find their ‘new normal’.
10 October marks World Mental Health Day, and the theme for this year is “make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority.”
This statement rings true for us now more than ever as we consider the impact the pandemic has had on people’s mental health worldwide.
Many of us, myself included, spent almost two years working from home. While some people became accustomed to this, others have craved the social interaction available in the office.
There were also many of our people still required to travel to the workplace throughout this period, who despite experiencing less isolation, had the additional stress of having to keep their distance from others, coupled with the fear of catching the virus and potentially spreading it to their families. The experience took a toll on us all.
Acknowledging this strain, ASCO has reaffirmed our commitment to supporting the mental health of our teams. This year we have offered mental health awareness training across the business and refreshed our Mental Health First Aider programme, which was initially established in 2019.
We understand that the return to in-person working this year has not been as easy for some as it has been for others. As part of our phased return to work, we have been trialling a hybrid working model. We are collecting feedback from across our organisation to establish if this works for our people and our business.
The pandemic may have placed us in uncertain times but one thing I can say with certainty is that regular communication and evaluation is essential to ensuring we continue to meet the needs of our workforce. Engagement visits have been put in place to ensure colleagues from across the business have the chance to meet face to face and discuss any concerns they may have.
Through this and our other initiatives we will continue to encourage open and honest communication to ensure that our teams are supported.