As individuals, we are being inundated with articles reflecting on how Covid has been managed in your business, how well you have performed financially and how your staff are feeling about returning to the workplace.  But what about the core people of an organisation … read on.

I attended a formal HR meeting the other day and asked the HR professionals in the room, “who has been looking after you while you have been looking after the staff?” the group looked to each other to see if their peers had had support. It was evident that support for the HR people was minimal and the physical wave of tiredness was clearly felt.

One person shared how they had managed to have two days off and have a long weekend as if this was a massive bonus.  Another had not had a day off since Christmas 2019 and throughout the two lockdowns had been working evenings and every weekend as the GM responsible for over 1000 staff.

Comments such as:

“It’s just part of my job in a crisis to work 80 hours a week when needed”

“No-one else was able to support me”

“I had over 1000 peoples’ personal situations to be considered and that has been hard on me mentally”

“I can’t wait for Christmas this year to have a week’s break”

When we sat back and reflected on this tiredness, it became really clear that the two gift days that had been allocated to one individual to make a long weekend was actually a recovery exercise only.  The person slept for the two days because of exhaustion. It wasn’t a break or a holiday – it was literally recovery ready for the next wave of crisis meetings with terrified staff.  It almost becomes a subconscious expectation to HR practitioners to put themselves last in the workplace and look after everyone else first to the detriment of their health in some cases.

So, take some time

We spend so much time coaching others on wellbeing practice, caring for staff and looking at organisational change to keep business in business that we lose sight of the need for self-care.

Let’s make an effort to practice what we preach as we move into the warmer weather.  Take time out of your working day to feel the sunshine on your face, take a walk from your desk and get some fresh air, switch the mobile off and have a device free hour.

Critical to your success and wellbeing is not to have a break where you recover, take the time to have a break where you get to stop the hamster wheel, and enjoy the space and time away from your work – you deserve this.

Look for peer support and identify a great buddy who shares your world of HR.  Debrief, keep it honest and remember you are not invincible – you need time too.

So, a massive shout out to all of those people working in HR as you have done an incredible job of supporting those in your workplaces this year – now reward yourself with the gift of time.

Until next time, take care and keep smiling.