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Drags and Drivers — a quick check-in on how we’re doing

On Monday I asked people ‘In relation to your current working situation. What is a drag or driver and to what extent is it affecting you? I posted this on LinkedIn and on a few Slack communities. The promise was that I would share what people added at the end of the week. My hope was that by gathering this direct data I could share something that showed that we’re not alone in our struggles and that there are positives to be highlighted that maybe we can focus on.

Here is an image of what people added. Please note, I’ve no idea who added what. So if you did, thank you. I have attempted to look for themes and coloured them in the Mural for reference.

The key ‘drags and drivers’ are, as I see it (please suggest others if you translate differently).

Top drivers:

  1. Flexible working hours / being more present at home
  2. Developing and practising new ways of working
  3. Less commuting
  4. More freedom (including to be creative)

Top drags:

  1. Feeling isolated and insecure (also related to job security)
  2. Ability to collaborate
  3. Lack of self-care (exercise, diet, media consumption)
  4. Presentism, unhealthy work environment, ‘enforced accountability’

In summary:

Although the drivers are meaningful in relation to things like being able to be more present at home, the ability to explore new ways of working and flexible hours, people are sharing more drags than drivers. Maybe this is due to fatigue with the second lockdown happening to many people and a subsequent lack of resilience?

To me, the drags feel profound in how they relate to our mental health and self-care. That coupled with working environments that haven’t adapted to facilitate new ways of working is creating a vicious cycle. People feel like they need to be present and accountable at all times so they sacrifice their own self-care to be so. My worry is that this then affects mental health which affects work which affects … well, you get the idea.

To be honest, my overwhelming emotion from this activity is irritation. Yes, I now feel less alone in my struggles but am feeling frustrated with the world we’ve created where we still have a dependent relationship on quiet frankly, archaic ways of working.

Having shared my irritation, I do see hope. Reading that people are reconnecting with the things they truly value like being more present at home, being creative and so on does give me hope.

So my question is this…

  1. What themes do you see?
  2. How does this make you feel or think?
  3. Focusing on the ‘drags’ what can we do at an individual or organisational level to reduce these drags?

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We think building genuine connections that bind us together, and doing it in a way that doesn’t damage our health or our environment, is the key to unlocking change.

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Matt Barnaby

Matt Barnaby

A person who likes to do great things with great people so that together, we can make a bit of a difference to the world

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