The hamster wheel - the new norm, or is it?

Alarm clock. Check emails. Quick workout. Check emails. Give kids breakfast. Take a MS Teams video call with your Asia colleague. Check emails. Get kids ready for their school day. Grab a banana. It just turned 7 a.m. You're exhausted, and the workday has yet to begin officially.

One year and nine months into the pandemic and the workforce is exhausted. Parents are being pushed to the brink as they’re trying to juggle work from home (WFH) requirements while ensuring their kids are thriving in school. Regardless of whether they have kids, all employees are trying to navigate the new WFH "normal." Trying to set boundaries but failing because the lines between work and personal time are blurred.

 

We’re on a hamster wheel. Or are we?

Before the pandemic, it was acceptable, even the norm, to exercise in the morning, run some errands, drop kids off at school, and grab a coffee before starting the workday. Employees were happier and better adjusted. Now, because work and home lines are blurred, employees feel pressure, even if self-imposed, to be available at all times. Companies have an obligation to communicate their expectations by setting work hours, offering wellness activities, and encouraging people to take paid time off according to company policy.

At Sanne, we put our people and their well-being front and center. Sanne has always placed a high emphasis on employee wellness, physical and mental, however, we turned up the notch during the pandemic to ensure that our employees weren’t burning out, or worse, suffering from the new norm the pandemic inflicted on all of us across the globe – the hamster wheel.

Below are three ways Sanne has taken proactive steps to support employee wellness during these unprecedented times.

 

Let’s reflect

Mindfulness has been shown to help people stress less, focus more, and sleep soundly. Earlier this year, Sanne partnered with Headspace, a leading mindfulness program, to offer employees hundreds of guided exercises for meditation, sleep, focus, and movement. Our goal is that Headspace will bring more health and happiness to our employees each and every day.

 

Camera off-times

Many of us are suffering from Zoom fatigue – the pressure of always being on. That is why we have armed our people with tips on how to combat Zoom fatigue.

  • Have breaks during the day where you have dedicated time to focus and stick to it.
  • Don’t use full screen for video calls. People can seem larger than life on some computer screens.
  • Take time to informally catch up before calls begin, just like we did before meetings commenced pre-pandemic, and do this with the camera off.
  • Choose to hide your image when on Zoom calls. Before Zoom, we didn’t look at ourselves as much. Now, we see ourselves all the time.

Companies across the globe, including Sanne, are taking steps to dedicate specific times during the workday or week to turn cameras off.

Stay Connected

Although technology has enabled us to do our jobs remotely, it has done little for us to stay connected.

At Sanne, we host virtual hangouts as a way to keep people engaged in a casual setting. We also send regular time-off reminders along with suggestions on road trips and local attractions accompanied by discounted tickets and newsletters highlighting events in the area. We all want to feel like we are part of something and are finding creative ways to stay connected.

As some jurisdictions eased Covid restrictions and returned to office on a rotational basis, our people decided to bring back the Pen Pal trend and left each other fun notes and motivational quotes.

As the pandemic continues, companies have an obligation to guide their employees through this new norm by setting work hours, organizing wellness events (in-person and virtual), and encouraging people to take time off to recharge. At Sanne, we encourage people to put down their phones, enjoy a cup of coffee in their favorite place, and turn off their cameras from time to time. Set boundaries. Take vacations. Do things that prioritize your wellness and mental health. Get off the hamster wheel.

We care, we are Sanne.