Just a few days ago, the Prime Minister delivered the news we had all been dreading, but that many of us expected.
This year was billed as one of hope for us all, but it seems our hope is to be delayed a little while longer.
Lockdown 3.0 (The Re-Lockening, as I’m determined to have it called) will undoubtedly be different to the first 2, simply because it is no longer unusual.
We have passed the novelty phase; we have come through the enthusiastically adaptive phase; and we must hope that we have reached the point where we can cope with another 6 to 8 weeks at home: the steely determination phase.
Our businesses have changed through necessity, our family lives have adapted despite difficulty and lockdown has gone from being a catch-all excuse for our problems to the driver behind new innovations
It’s time for us to accept home-based work as an important element of normal, and that means no more sweatpants during work hours. The phenomenon of the ‘Zoom Shirt’ should not be allowed to become ubiquitous.
The phenomenon of the ‘Zoom Shirt’ should not be allowed to become ubiquitous
In Lockdown 1, there was almost a sense of fun in being able to work in relaxed clothes. We felt we could get used to this, we decided it was easy to pair pyjamas with professionalism, and the fact we could work in shorts all through the summer was heavenly.
In Lockdown 2, this delight was replaced by despondency. Tracksuits were not for comfort, they were for “why bother?” and, as the nights drew in and the reality of a life of confinement took hold, morale dropped as low as standards.
This is why for The Re-Lockening (really, I’m determined), it is important we set a high bar, to remind ourselves that there will eventually be an end to all this and we will return to our offices and workplaces expected to dress accordingly.
The act of getting up in the morning and dressing for the day is vital to routine-building; it’s the foundation of a both a productive session at the laptop and a seamless return to the real world when it finally reopens.
It looks increasingly likely that a full 12 months, if not more, will have passed between the beginning of this mess and the moment we are freed. This puts us in danger of being too set in ways developed while working from home, struggling to return to what we used to know so well.
There is a point when working from home where ‘dressing down’ strays into ‘giving up’.
There has been a consistent, and warranted, discussion on the effects of these lockdowns on the mental health of the nation and how we dress during the day can play a significant part in maintaining it.
Shower, shave and shirt instead of breakfast, bathrobe and barely started by lunchtime will help give us the sense of purpose we need to get us through the latest (hopefully the last) lockdown.
When we look the part, we feel the part and making the effort for the next two months will go a long way to maintaining sanity.
If nothing else, you’ll look great on your colleagues’ screens.
If your mental health has been poorly affected during the pandemic, there is help available. The experts at mind.org.uk can offer advice and support.