COVID-19 is an indiscriminate disease, but it is by no means a leveller, as expert speakers on our webinars and our HDN mentors agree. The pandemic has thrown up bigger challenges for those already in need of the most help.

A crisis such as the global spread of COVID 19 can bring people together; we must ensure that everyone is included.      

Coping with COVID at HDN’s Virtual Mentee Event

In the strangest year in recent memory we have faced challenges like never before. We’ve become used to, though unhappily, keeping clear of family and friends. And there has been no gym, no football, no theatre and no coffee on the high street.

In recent months things have loosened up a little, but we are a long way from life as we knew it in 2019. And a fundamental change is the move to home working, for those who can. Of course this is all good news for the environment and the dreaded commute may become a thing of the past, but how do we strike the work-life balance and juggle professional tasks with home and family fun and strife?

At HDN’s Virtual Mentee celebration in September, Sue Waterall, mentoring associate for the North West asked four mentors and mentees how they manage to cope, and each brought along a prop which helps them.

Kate Lynch (mentor), learning and development manager at the Regenda Group:
Practical aid: her daughter’s shoes

New in the job and as a new mum Kate marries the two worlds: “You must focus on what you can do and not worry about what you can’t achieve.” Demanding work and an equally needy toddler could be overwhelming without this calm acceptance; and wins in both worlds will come.

Kate also advises us to get out of the house and breathe in the fresh air: “There is a wealth of scientific proof that exercise is beneficial for mental health and releases endorphins. Get out there into nature every day and take in that fresh air.”

James Keirnan (mentee), commercial manager at PA Housing:
Practical aid: an elastic band

Making a crystal clear distinction between home and work is the key to James’ happy work-life balance and he uses an elastic band, wrapped around his work planning note-pad to draw the line. When he’s ready for the day’s work James removes the band from the work-pad and his home office is open.

“That brings me from non-work to a work environment; there’s a physical, if slightly symbolic separation of the two. Once I’m at work I work, and when I’m at home I am at home.”

Suzanne Ralphson (mentor) head of projects at PA Housing:
Practical aid: a lanyard

Suzanne oversees a range of projects at PA Housing, and says she’s had some fantastic mentors in her professional and personal/sporting life. “When people are not directly responsible for you they can be brilliant sounding boards,” she says.

With a young son to cope with at home, Suzanne has endured the additional challenge, living in Leicester, of an extended lockdown; 500 years as she painfully puts it! “We failed in the first month, closing the door of the office when working but that’s not great for such a young child. So we came up with the lanyard which I wear at work but not at home.

“The visual aid helped my son to see the difference, he can see I’m working; it’s like an invisibility cloak.”

Nadine Agbedetse (mentee) senior communications officer at Poplar HARCA:
Practical aid: a cup of tea

Sit down for a chat or to ask help from Nadine and you’re going to get a cup of tea, whether you asked for it or not.

Nadine loves tea.

“It’s real,” She says. “People say to me, ‘go for a walk’ if you want to cope with COVID. But I wonder where the destination is and what’s the point? If it works for you that’s good but for me it’s a cup of tea.

“Don’t fret and don’t worry, put the kettle on is number one!

“Find someone you know, or borrow someone, and they’ll help you sort out your problem. A cup of tea gives you the time to evaluate and decide on your action.”

COVID-19 and Discrimination – Women

In August, here at HDN, we held a webinar around COVID-19 and Discrimination with London based barristers Rachel Owusu-Agyei and Betsan Criddle providing professional insight.

Following on from that chat we’ve taken a look at three sections of our society most affected by the virus.

Click here to find out more >>