Anon – 2 June 2020

Deeper into the furlough segue than many of us originally thought we would be, the once surprising jump into uni summer chillin’ has become the norm. As a species, we’re (generally) pretty good at doing what we’re told. But that also means there’s a lot we don’t do until we are told– auto-enrolment for one. BoJo said stay at home so we stayed home, our furlough contracts said don’t work so we didn’t work. But no one said keep in touch with your colleagues regularly, did we do that?  With restraints starting to lift, light is being shone on the importance of healthy social practices – just because our lives have adjusted to this strange isolated scenario, doesn’t mean our minds should too.

In the days prior to Covid (remember those?) I considered myself an extrovert. So my struggle to maintain regular conversations with my colleagues was an unpleasant surprise. Especially thinking of how I’d spend most of my days talking and joking around with them. We started off alright, but even the weekly pub quizzes that were a ‘must have’ for any newly furloughed employee, have started to dip in numbers. In fairness, there is only so many movies you can guess actors from. With the saturation leading to nausea just looking at a trivial pursuit box and as awful as it sounds, a “quick catch up” had begun to seem a little too repetitive to warrant summoning energy to ring someone (“you baked another Banana Loaf? How mental!”).

We’ve all heard about the ‘new normal’, but it’s generally spoken to in business. It’s important to find a new normal in other sectors of life, to form new events around socialising. A lot of our office interactions tended to be based around an event. You’d have lunch with someone, exercise with someone, go for drinks with someone(s) – all great friends, but the core focus of an activity done together made it a fun event rather than work chats. So do the same now, events can be replicated in the new regime. Have lunch with someone over FaceTime, do effort comparisons on Strava – don’t miss those virtual Pub Quizzes and just spend time having pint with someone on a Friday eve.

A socialising schedule may sound forced, but sometimes we need a bit of force- it’s rejuvenated our furlough timelines.

Two slices of banana cake on a white plate