Overcoming loneliness and being excited about the future
9 May 2022
With life slowly getting back to face to face meetings and nights out with friends I’m enjoying new opportunities to connect with colleagues and friends in ways I hadn’t been able to during the past two years. Since the easing of government restrictions Tesco Bank has adopted a blended way of working, offering us flexibility. Homeworking isn’t suitable for everyone, as I experienced during the pandemic, and while I don’t need to be in the office for a set number of days, I have the option of getting together with colleagues in the office, helping me adopt a balanced working life between home and the office.
This is particularly important to me as working from home was a whole new challenging experience. I had my good and bad days, just like when working in the office. But when in the office it’s easier to speak to someone and feel supported. Of course, I could always chat to colleagues over Teams but this isn’t the same as speaking to someone face to face. I found this really difficult at times.
I was grieving before the pandemic after losing a close relative. I found it difficult to process the loss and the pandemic added to the stress and worry. My family was classed as vulnerable and, as a key worker, I was struggling with thoughts of how to keep them safe while I was working in the office.
Although the business quickly transitioned to home working I made the decision to move in with my brother, to keep my parents safe whilst I was still working in the office. This in itself was overwhelming as adjustments were made to the offices to help keep colleagues safe. But it didn’t feel natural speaking to people and having team meetings and 1-2-1s while keeping our distance.
I took advantage of resources made available to colleagues to support our mental health. A Tesco Bank Mental Health First Aider took the time to talk to me and, being professionally trained, gained my trust so I could talk about how I was feeling, so she could offer the right support.
I was recently successful in getting a secondment role which meant I had to return to the office for training. This was exciting as it had been a while since I was last in the office. I really enjoyed being back amongst colleagues and it was good to see some familiar faces and, of course, have the physical interaction.
The pandemic affected everyone in one way or another. For me, it was my mental health and the feelings of isolation and loneliness that came with not being around friends and colleagues. But with the support of my Mental Health First Aider, my new role and the opportunity to adopt blended working I’m excited about the future.