The Staying Connected Series: 4 – Connecting with family and friends

Evangeline Basson | 25 March 2021

The ability to stay connected in numerous senses has dramatically changed over the past year due to government restrictions and multiple lockdowns. Though staying home protects everyone’s physical health, having little to no physical contact with those outside of our home can be detrimental to our mental wellbeing. The pandemic has adversely impacted the ability to connect to family, friends, colleagues, and clients.

OBI’s staying connected series focuses on the power of staying connected and the positive experiences some of our team have experienced over the past year.

Series 4 – Connecting with family and friends

By Jessica England who is part of our Workplace Consultancy team

In March 2020, the unknowns of the virus gave myself, friends and family a kick to give each other a call. We might not have otherwise done this if it was not for the global surge of uncertainty and concern to think of the people close to us. Before the pandemic, as morbid as it could sound, the most common reason I would speak to friends would be for weddings, hen parties, birthdays, or births. Since the pandemic, we have enjoyed the novelty of zooms, which has kept me in touch with a wider group of friends and opened up conversations outside of the ‘big life event topics’, having a bit more fun chatting about day-to-day nonsense.

Workwise I feel my connection to my colleagues and clients hasn’t increased in frequency, but it has brought to light some benefits for me. I don’t enjoy public speaking or the formalities of a meeting, I dread when people say ‘let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves’ I cringe at the thought of it. So, going into the realm of zoom has been a relief and a gift in reducing my stress levels and improving the quality of conversations I have.

I have spoken much more frequently to my mum as I have tried to help her with IT whilst she has adapted to remote teaching. My Dad has a traditional/analogue approach to communication, long descriptive messages, long phone calls, neighbours who still knock on the door rather than a text, and/or a cup of tea in a nice country pub talking at length about any topic we fancy – it worried me the most that he would experience the biggest change in communication, so I introduced him to Instagram and TikTok – although he’s not a fan of it! I’ve explained why emojis and ‘reactions’ as a response are more common to me than a descriptive text also the post now, delete later and speed of communication.

By Liam O’Connell who is part of our Building Consultancy team

It has been a difficult year for most people, but I have found ways to keep busy, stay positive, maintain motivation, and connect with family and friends.

5 ways I have stayed in touch with family and friends;

1. Video meetings have become a key part to life in work and at home and like most people I have been roped into lots of family quizzes. If we don’t do a quiz, we normally have a subject to discuss and everyone has time to talk, and people are asked not to talk over one another. Sometimes it works and other times it gets a little crazy.

2. I have made an effort to link back with my old university friends and friends I met whilst I was travelling. I try to share my old Facebook memories with old friends to reconnect and start conversations. It is also nice to remember the good times we had and look forward to linking back up after the restrictions are lifted.

3. A key part of my day-to-day life and a very important part of my well-being is CrossFit training. I have found it more difficult training on my own and sometimes lack motivation. So, I have challenged friends to different challenges and set myself achievable goals. I tend to plan my workouts on a Sunday night and put them in my diary. There is a lot of good content on YouTube and you can do the workouts with an instructor.

4. I have an uncle who doesn’t use social media and lives alone. I make an effort to give him a call at least once every 2 weeks just to check in and make sure he is doing ok.

5. I have recently moved up to Manchester, not only to progress in my career, but to be closer to friends (from university) and family. Going on a walk and getting out of the house has been very good for me, even in this cold Manchester weather.

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