There’s never been a better time to knock out bad habits and pick better ones. The last year and a half has taught us all some lessons on what we did badly and how we can improve. Now that some of us are returning back to in-person work, it’s necessary to reflect on bad habits and set yourself up for some new ones.
Bad Habits People Had Pre-COVID
It’s hard to remember what life was like pre-COVID. It seems like so long ago but also not too far in the past – sometimes, I think my concept of time is a bit off. However, there are a few poor habits I do remember from life before the pandemic that deserved to be let go of.
First, family time often came second for many. Work and social life were prioritized before maintaining relationships with loved ones, which was unfortunate. Additionally, I think it’s safe to say that we all lived crazy busy lives. It was so easy to overexert ourselves and overcommit because there were things that we were passionate about and we also had the fear of missing out. This is definitely a habit I do not miss; you’d be surprised how much peace you have once you take the time to slow down and take care of yourself. Which leads me to my next point…
As a society, we were less aware of overall health and wellness before the pandemic hit. We worked until we got burnt out (and then some), showed up to work sick, and fought through stress, leaving our physical and mental health on the back burner. If the last year has taught us anything, it’s to take care of ourselves. While these habits may have been kicked to the curb, it’s important to continue to keep them at bay and work to make sure they do not return.
Bad Habits Businesses Had Pre-COVID
Though we all had trouble adjusting to new ways of life during the pandemic, businesses probably had a worse time. It was up to them to figure out how to make a successful transition to WFH and they were in charge of calling all the shots for business operations when lockdown took effect. Yet, businesses had bad habits before the pandemic even started, which likely could’ve made the pandemic hit them harder.
Businesses put more focus on the bottom line and less focus on employee mental health, leading to stressful work environments and less efficiency from employees due to being burnt out. Businesses also lacked contingency planning – most businesses were caught with their pants down when the world shut down because they never had protocols put in place for when emergency situations happened, like the pandemic. Lastly, businesses were sole to pivot and change. They stuck with what they knew as opposed to being open to new ideas and approaches to work. Overall, workplaces were closed off, unprepared, and a bit more stressful than desired.
Good Habits to Practice and Implement
I truly believe that everything needs balance, so I can’t forget to mention some good habits that have come from the pandemic experience over the last year and a half.
Since the first lockdown, people have learned to use their communication skills and have become more well-rounded in their communication. Knowing how to communicate in an office setting came in handy when the switch to WFH was implemented – these skills created a nice building block for times to come as new technology was introduced. Having and utilizing these communication skills now (for both in-person and virtual work) can help people be more versatile in the ways they interact with others and will set them up for future successes. Regularly nurturing both forms of communication is a good habit to have as the world opens back up and hybrid work modalities are on the rise.
Another good habit learned from the pandemic experience is professionalism. It’s likely that we all knew how to act professionally in an office or work setting way before the pandemic started, but the real growth happened when things changed with the blink of an eye. It was a bit tricky to be uprooted from a work environment to being adjusted to working from home without any warning. However, the previously existing professionalism was tailored as time went on to fit the needs of working from a distance, separated from coworkers and the rest of the team. Though stressful, the experience helped to make us all more professional and has given us valuable lessons that can be used in the future.
In terms of businesses, there were also many good habits that arose during the pandemic that should not be forgotten. When there was a disconnect with teams due to the social aspect of work being removed, businesses provided ways for employees to get involved. In-person events became virtual so the community wasn’t completely lost. Providing virtual social and philanthropic events to employees is a great practice that would be a great habit, especially as remote working may become the new norm for many businesses.
Additionally, businesses have learned to be flexible with work options and with their employees when problems arose. If the last year has taught them anything, it’s to handle situations with grace. As sickness and uneasiness took over, some businesses helped employees be able to take time for what matters the most to them. This, too, is a fantastic practice that would make a great habit for the future of workers and businesses alike.
Whatever your work modality or transition may be, know that you are supported and valued! Though the future may be unknown, rest easy in the fact that there are positive habits that you have that will positively impact your team both now and further down the road!
If you’d like to catch up on previous installments of this series, check out: