Meanwhile, in the rest of the world… Let’s Steer a Course Towards Accelerating Gender Parity

You’ve seen these figures before: 100 years to close the overall gender gap, 257 to close the economic gender gap. It’s beyond our lifetime and too long to wait. What can be done to accelerate the closing of these gaps – or rather, chasms – by us, our companies and our governments?

Many countries, including the UK, are well placed to reap the benefits of their investment in female education and harness the gender balance opportunities made possible by the changing nature of work. So far, they – and we – have failed to do so.

But if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can do things differently! We can work from home without disrupting the flow of business, we can reverse the signs of environmental damage to our planet, we can slow down, look up and ‘smell the roses’ once in a while. And, yes, we can accelerate the closing of these unspeakable gaps.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has already launched a programme with a number of countries to do just that. Suitably named the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator, the programme is designed to pull together global and national public and private action that narrows these gaps. To date, the WEF has managed to secure commitment from nine governments around the world to join the Accelerator programme (its goal is 15 by the end of this year). Only one of the nine is a G20 country – and it is not the UK.

My point is that the tools and solutions to help accelerate the closing of these gaps are available to us, but for some reason, we are not taking the necessary steps to implement them – either on a national or more local front.

One of my worries is that the lessons we have and are continuing to learn from the pandemic will not be captured by our society. I worry that we will all return to work and life in the same way we did before Covid-19. This would be a lost opportunity; to reset our values, our priorities and our trajectories and to look at our lives from a different perspective and to realise that they could be different.

In April, I wrote about the fact that the new way in which we have started to interact with each other as a result of having to work and live from/at home has made us more empathetic, more accepting and more kind. We have reverted to what it means to be human and have injected that humanity into our work. We have become more tolerant of the daily disruptions in our work from children and pets; our “offices” show glimpses of who we are as people; we’re reconnecting with nature and with ourselves – our emotions and philosophies – as much as with distant friends and family. In other words, we’re bringing more of ourselves to work and are accepting of who that is, of us as well as our colleagues. Our managers are learning to lead with humour and be more comfortable with being less serious all the time. We care about the emotional and physical state of our colleagues and bend over backwards to help them cope.

I classify all this as inclusive behaviours. And, while we may feel that it’s not within our powers (query as to whether this is true) to persuade our CEOs and MPs to join the WEF’s commitment to accelerate the closing of gender parity gaps, what we most certainly can do is preserve how we interact with and treat each other when we go back to our desks in the office, and continue to nurture those inclusive behaviours that we have started to develop.

Inclusion leads to greater appreciation of diversity which makes programmes like the WEF’s Closing the Gender Parity Accelerators feasible and impactful.

 

Learn more about the WEF Accelerator programme and how your company can get involved.

Watch a short WEF video on the gender parity gap.

Active Voice: How to lead from the kitchen table

If you are leading a team from your new office environment – AKA the kitchen – and wondering how to stay on top of work and keep your staff engaged and productive, we have some great tips to keep you on track.

  1. Be clearer than ever about your team’s purpose. This may have changed since the lockdown, if only temporarily. A team that has a strong sense of purpose is more engaged.
  2. Be the leader you aspire to be. Be clear about how you come across as a leader; think about what it’s like to be led by you and how you’re seen as a leader by your team and try to bridge any gaps.
  3. Re-contract with your team. All our relationships with members of our team have a “contract” eg. performance expectations; emotional and physical availability; how we communicate. What does this contract look like under Covid-19 and now that we are physically separate? Especially regarding communication. There may be times when people can’t speak or would prefer to communicate by phone/Zoom instead of email to have more human engagement. It may be advisable to use an email footer along the lines of: “I’m sending this email at a time that suits me, but please feel free to respond at a time that suits you.”
  4. Adapt your leadership style to meet your team’s needs either: a) according to each team member’s style and preferences, b) according to their skills, experience and competence or c) according to what motivates them – find out by asking them what they enjoy and value.
  5. Use structure, but lightly. This will help with business planning. In the current situation, it has been established that people like structure; it helps them to feel valued. Bring structure to your week and decide which team “events” should be mandatory and which should be optional.
  6. Help the team to stay resilient. Make it acceptable for individuals to say, “I’m not ok.” It’s your job as a leader to make sure your team knows that. You can role-model your own vulnerability, talk about your feelings and what you need help on - and how you’ve coped - and encourage people to find something that works for them. However, don’t expect it to be the same as what works for you.
  7. Help manage individuals’ anxieties. Reassure people, where you can. Be transparent and honest and be upfront about what you don’t know i.e. “I’m not sure about the long-term impact of this.”
  8. Be flexible and have fun eg. organise team quizzes and encourage team ideas. Perhaps even suggest taking part in a Joe Wicks team fitness workout.

This sage advice formed the basis of a webinar in Voice At The Table’s new Tuesday@10 series.

Celebrating the Birthday of the ‘First Lady’ of Nursing

By Melissa Jackson

We have become accustomed to applauding the heroes and heroines of this pandemic – the doctors and nurses - who selflessly put their lives on the line on a daily basis treating Covid-19 patients in UK hospitals. But let’s not forget the woman who’s credited with being the founder of modern nursing, on the 200th anniversary of her birth.

Florence Nightingale was a formidable woman, by all accounts, a single-minded and determined individual, who was not going to let Victorian convention prevent her from having a career and vocation, the like of which was usually reserved for men in the 19th century.

She was born into a privileged family, on 12th May 1820, into a world where the only “career” for women of her status and position was to marry well and bear children. Working was for women of a lower class!

But Florence was intelligent, educated and a non-conformist – a perfect storm for advancement. I’m not wholly advocating that children should disobey their parents, but maybe question the assumption that they always know best. This young rebel defied her parents’ wishes, turned down an eminently suitable marriage proposal and enrolled at a nursing school in Germany because there was no hospital or school that trained nurses in Britain.

We are still reaping the benefits of her spirited nature today. She changed the practices of nursing and hospital hygiene forever. Her most notable achievements were during the Crimean War (1853-56), where, during the course of her work attending to wounded servicemen, she observed that the number of troops dying from disease (in British military hospitals) outstripped those succumbing to battle wounds. She suggested that improvements in sanitation and hygiene would save many lives.

However, her well-intentioned “intervention” was originally rejected by the male-dominated military officers and doctors, who refused to execute her proposed reforms.

But Florence was way ahead of her time and used her contacts in “the media” (AKA The London Times) to expose the perilous conditions in military hospitals. After a barrage of (bad) publicity, the army relented and gave Florence the task of improving sanitation in its hospitals and organising the soldiers’ care. The mortality rate in army hospitals was slashed from 60% in November 1854, (when she first arrived at Constantinople), to 2.2% in the spring of 1855.

When the war ended in 1856, Florence returned to Britain and continued to press the army to improve the quality of its medical care. Her efforts resulted in the creation of Britain’s Army Medical College. She then turned her attention to improving sanitary conditions in civilian hospitals.

In 1859 she wrote a book, Notes on Nursing, which was the first text book written specifically for the training of nurses and was published in various languages. In 1860, she opened the Nightingale School for Nurses (at St Thomas’s Hospital in London), whose mission was to train nurses to work in hospitals and to care for the poor.

Her achievements meant that nursing became increasingly professional and the role of nurses was valued more highly in hospitals.

Florence was also an advocate for women’s rights. In her 1860 book, Suggestions for Thought to Searchers After Religious Truths, she argued strongly for the removal of restrictions that prevented women from having careers. By 1901 there were 68,000 trained nurses in Britain - in 1850 there had not been any.

She carried on with her mission to improve hospital hygiene and nursing practice into her later years. In 1883- Florence was awarded the “Royal Red Cross” for her work and, in 1907, became the first woman to be awarded the “Order Of Merit”.

She died in 1910, but her memory lives on and her work and status is honoured every year on International Nurses Day, which is always close to her birthday. The event celebrates the contribution that nurses make to societies around the world and this year as a fitting tribute to the First Lady of Nursing, it is being held on 12th May, to mark her bicentenary.

Diversity and Inclusion in Disguise

Has the D&I Agenda been forgotten? ‘Of course not!’ is the immediate answer one wants to give. But the reality is, people are focusing on other matters right now; no-one is spending; all but a few budgets have been suspended or cut. No-one is thinking about either Diversity or inclusion. Or are they?

Actually, Diversity & Inclusion is alive and kicking. Except, it has morphed into other ways of expression and focus. In fact, the virtual work place presents many opportunities to practise Inclusion in ways that aren’t necessarily obvious. The benefits of these new behaviours, however, are very similar: they improve our empathy, our listening skills, our compassion and relatedness to each other; they strip away corporate armour and reveal the human within us. All this is necessary in order to truly benefit from our diversity of thought.

If you want to bolster the practice of these new habits, I offer you a few of my thoughts on how to do this:

  1. Create ‘Touch-In’ Pairs:

Ask members to ‘buddy up’, making the effort to pick someone with whom they aren’t already closely familiar. Ask the pairs to check in with each other daily on a video call. Each week, they must learn something new about each other and teach or share with each other something new. For instance, you might want to learn about people’s favourite dishes, books, films, holidays, hobbies. You might want to teach them how to cook a particular dish or how not to make the same mistake on Zoom that you just made and learned from, or share your latest favourite exercise app or virtual quiz.

At the end of the week – on an all-team call – let the pairs share what they’ve learned about each other and for themselves.

Mix up the pairs the following week.

Behaviours/Skills honed: empathy, listening, curiosity, creativity, relationship skills.

  1. Practise a New Leadership Style

Never has it been safer to practise a new style of leadership. As we’re all in the same boat, there are no judgments being attached to anything we are doing that’s different from the norm. All bets of traditional behaviours and expectations are off! This is a great time to suggest and/or role-model ways in which we can lead from a place of trust, humility and empathy. Listening is becoming more important than ever, as it takes much more effort to properly ‘hear’ people when you’re not in the same room. As a leader, we’re listening not only for the cue for what we might say in response but to understand how others are feeling, what they’re experiencing and how successful you are at engaging them and keeping energy levels up. Are people spending too much time on video calls, tied to their laptops, on devices? Is this affecting their moods and wellbeing? Are there any tips you can pick up and share from team members on how to cope with disruptions, anxieties, mood swings, etc? Now more than ever leadership is defined by being able to call on your relationship skills and by down-playing the hierarchy.

Behaviours/Skills honed: relationship skills, listening, building trust, humility, vulnerability.

  1. Maintain staff networks

Our communities are vital for our well-being. We are constantly establishing new ones and take comfort in connecting with existing ones. This should also extend to our staff networks.

It’s important not to forget about staff networks and to keep maintaining them. Staying connected now is critical, ensuring that the efforts that have been put into building a successful staff network aren’t lost while we enter a more virtual existence.

Encourage your colleagues to take part in already established employee networks and to form new ones.

As a network member, think of ways to host events and share information with other members. What can you offer to make use of new opportunities? Are there stories and experiences you can share? Is there an opportunity here to recruit new allies by broadcasting to the wider organisation? I know of one organisation whose women’s network is planning to sponsor sessions that benefit the entire global community of colleagues. What a great way to make use of your assets!

Behaviours/Skills honed: relationship skills, curiosity, creativity, visiblity.

What next?

I encourage you to think of Diversity and Inclusion in other, simpler ways. After all, it’s all about our human behaviours – our ability to see what isn’t in front of our eyes, to express an interest in each other in ways that we didn’t need to do before, to notice strengths and abilities that previously lied dormant. Perhaps, after all, our current situation is an opening to something that will make it easier to embed the agenda when we move on to our new normal – whatever that looks like.

Here’s hoping!

If you would like us to help you develop a framework of Inclusive Behaviours and show you how to  practise these ‘new’ habits, get in touch with me.

Active Voice: Losing Focus and Motivation? We Show You the Way to Regain Control.

Already disconsolate about sharing your space with your partner, children, dog, cat? (Actually, the last three are definitely the easiest, as they don’t answer back!) Just how many distractions are there (suddenly) in your home/new office space? If, like us, you’re on the point of sounding off at some unlucky and unsuspecting family member/pet/virtual work colleague, we give you some valuable tips on how to stay focused and committed.

  1. It’s obvious, but “get dressed”. It’s all too easy to slip into bad habits and work in your pyjamas because your colleagues can’t see what you’re wearing; but it could send the wrong signal to your nearest and dearest, who might think you’re having the day off and in the market for a bit of “social distraction”. Some suggest putting on your regular work clothes, although if that feels a bit too formal, smart casual is ok.
  2. Set a timetable, prioritising your activities and organising the tasks that you have to get done over the course of the day.
  3. Take a screen break - to boost productivity. If you don’t allow yourself time to rest and recuperate during the day, you may become burnt out by the afternoon. Be sure to take a full lunch break, and try to stay away from your computer during this time as well. You will feel rejuvenated when you return to your desk to tackle the full working day.
  4. Try tuning in to your favourite playlist or podcast. Multiple professionals say playing music or an audiobook during the work day helps to increase their focus.
  5. Limit your time on social media or before you know it, half-an-hour (or more) will have, unproductively, evaporated. Try a useful App called Stay Focusd, a Google Chrome extension, which restricts (you set the timer) the duration you can spend on Facebook, Twitter etc.
  6. Schedule-in an exercise break. Our physical health is more at risk than we realise when working from home - even those who sit in an office cubicle still tend to walk a mile or so throughout the day, to their car, to get lunch etc. Exercise provides a brain boost; instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, a workout can get those endorphins flowing and deliver a natural burst of energy.
  7. Set a regular time to close your laptop and switch off from the Internet; it is important to know when the working day starts and ends. This is the only way to prevent saturation and frustration, enabling you to keep working through your everyday routines with strength and motivation.

We’re All In This Together but How Are We Coping?

By Melissa Jackson

It’s a huge ask isn’t it? Being told to work from home for the foreseeable future? Love it or hate it, it’s the new “normal”, but how are people adapting/evolving/diversifying to accommodate the changes brought about by Coronavirus and the “obligation” to WFH? We asked a handful of people, in different roles, to share their experiences.

Mark Walley, CEO at STEP (The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), said: “Week one WFH was a novelty and there was great camaraderie as everyone adapted. Week two got tougher as the realities of the lockdown began to hit home, especially the mental wellbeing of our people as they wrestled the conflicting demands of partners, children, other family members, over-use of broadband, table space and, in some cases, the isolation that WFH brought. We have had practical and pragmatic discussions about flexing working times, with some agreeing with partners to split the day into two ‘shifts’ so each takes a turn with childcare whilst the other gets quiet time and space to work. Teams are meeting via video conference each day for a catch up, all line managers are checking in with team members regularly, social media groups have been established for the less ‘businessy’ stuff. There is a company-wide ‘water cooler’ video meeting twice a week that people can drop in to for a chat (we’ve talked gardening, TV, music, pets, anything but work really!). Team members are also taking turns circulating a daily song (you tube link), we are remembering to celebrate birthdays and even have a leavers lunch by video coming up!”

A press officer for a major charity organisation said: “I often work one day a week from home. The current situation has made me realise how different it is to work an occasional day (in a week) from home as opposed to full-time from home. It’s much more effort to keep communication going – you can’t just lean over the desk or round the side of a monitor to ask something. It’s also imperative that the technology works!  We do have one permanent home-worker in the team. This has made me think about how we can be more inclusive in future when things go back to normal. A very minor point: I’m not reading as much! I never thought I’d see the benefits of the Northern Line as ‘me time’!”

A BBC Radio producer said: “As there are thousands of BBC programme staff and only a few laptops for hire, there has been a big lag in their ability to make home-working work.  We have changed our programme content to minimise work, so no recording or editing.  I set up a rota for our team reducing our days in the building.  We use a lot of WhatsApp calls, emails, google docs.  The bits that don’t work is lack of kit - I have an iPad as my husband is working at home too and using our sole laptop.  Access to BBC online platforms has escalated beyond the capacity for the network to cope, so we are having to limit it. Teamwork remains, but obstacles mean it is more difficult and stressful. it’s not enjoyable!  Part of being in a team is bouncing ideas off each other, it’s also enjoyable to interact with your work family - most of the time - and a welcome break from the demands of home!”

James, who works for an investment management firm on the trading desk, said: “Working prior to the virus was always office based and also very collaborative. Some things have changed. I have become more ruthless about managing how I communicate with people. I have purged my Inbox and requested that a number of counter-parties take me off non-essential email lists, so now I only really get emails that are important. My team has become better at email communication. Emails are now better structured and clearer. We are also mindful of minimising email traffic so we only copy in people who need to be copied in. We use video conferencing too, which has been surprisingly effective. Indeed, we all feel the need to speak to colleagues regularly, even if there is no purpose behind the call, as we all miss the human interaction that the office encourages.”

A senior communications executive said: “We are lucky to be in a position where we can enact remote working, although it doesn’t come without challenges. We already utilised online meeting platforms for offsite meetings, so the format was already familiar. There is certainly an additional barrier to the human conversations when you are missing that face-to-face contact; the subtleties of body language and being able to read a room can be lost. On a team level, we need to overcommunicate, as for many, remote working is totally new – we need to work harder to ensure people feel part of a team.”

Founder and CEO of Zappi, an automated insights platform, Stephen Phillips, said: “I was dreading working from home - the distractions of wife and kids mostly - but also the lack of discipline and focus that being in an office gives me. I have adapted surprisingly well and now actually don't mind it. I don't have a desk at home (so have ordered one from Amazon) but otherwise seem to do what I normally do, which is sit in meeting all day, but now they are on Zoom. In fact, I am probably having even more meetings.

Being an international company, the meetings have in some ways got better. Before, you may have had four people in a room in London and then one on their phone from Boston and one in a conference room in Capetown. Having everyone on Zoom makes it much easier to manage the meeting and you get less of the London bias.

Finally, I have started all hands meetings on Fridays for 45 minutes where we highlight people from across the company, how they are coping and how business is going. It brings people together from across the company and people seem to be loving it. We even started last week doing formal Fridays so I wore a shirt and tie for the meeting.”

Rebecca Salsbury, Deputy Director of Platform, BBC (industry: tech/media) said: “Our experience so far has meant that we’re adjusting to, but not overwhelmed by, the changes. It’s still a little soon for us to know the impact on us and our productivity – but I have noticed a lovely upside: we are getting to know each other personally a bit more. After all, we’re getting a peek at each other’s home life (or at least our homes) every day! This is an added benefit at a time when we’re taking care to look after our own and our colleagues’ well-being. I’m personally refusing to refer to this time of the restrictions as ‘the new normal’. For me, the new normal will come later – after the restrictions are lifted, once we’ve had a chance to take stock. I’m certain that we won’t go back to the same way of working as before – it’s too soon to say how much different it’ll be, but based on my experience of the past few weeks, I know we’ll adapt – and I welcome a new and renewed flexibility.

Jemima, MD of a Leadership and Coaching company, said: “I have a morning team meeting and a 5pm meeting via Zoom every day. We plan work, discuss work in progress, debate and solve issues, and generally have an excellent communication exchange. I think it's fair to say I have more effective communication (getting things done!) than the general office exchanges. Throughout the day I call or Zoom individuals or sub teams and we are in touch frequently. My team knows I have a 'call me whenever you need' policy - if I am busy, I will get back ASAP. I worry about one or two being socially isolated (young people living on their own) so I try to also have more light-hearted chats with them too - catching up on gossip, chit chat, anything non-work related.

A clear theme at the end of two weeks’ remote working is this. If you spend a lot of time on Zoom/Video calls it can get very intense. The pace of working is much more intense too. There is no escape from pressures of work (eg no wander outside at lunch to the sandwich shop, or sitting on tube or train on way home). However, we have the infrastructure and team spirit to put a huge effort in to adapt and make this work.”

National Day for Staff Networks #AddingValue

By Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE

What started as an idea in 2016 has evolved into an annual celebration for the fourth year running. What are we talking about? The National Day for Staff Networks of course.

Also known as Networks Day, the national day for staff networks is all about celebration, inspiration and transformation. Many staff networks (employee/business resource groups, Diversity Groups etc.) provide employees from under-represented groups with valuable guidance and timely advice as they navigate their organisation’s culture and endeavour to offer their authentic best in the workplace. The national day for staff networks is a celebration of the expanding and diverse range of work across the public, private and voluntary sectors which continues to foster inclusive workplaces; thus making work better.

The theme for 2020 is #addingvalue. We have created a fantastic tool to help networks to assess their value by using the ‘Value Continuum’[1]. The Value Continuum toolkit is specifically designed for Staff Networks to think through things such as their Network Value Proposition[2]. As the UK steps into a new post economic climate, it will be even more important for staff networks to be organised, clear about their purpose and ready to employ tools fully capable of measuring impact and their added value.

Impact of COVID-19 - No one expected the arrival or impact that COVID-19 would have on our lives. The pandemic has meant that we have to think differently about what celebration looks like and what inclusion feels like when you are not sharing the same physical space with colleagues.

The crisis has knocked many off their equilibrium; people feel out of kilter and that’s when many will turn to a network to get reassurance, solace and encouragement. However, it’s crucial that those leading the network take time to look after themselves and maintain their health and energy. To support this, we have started the Networks Virtual Coffeeshop where we encourage leaders to take a break and participate in activities that will boost their wellbeing and self care.

The coffeeshop publicises webinars, podcasts, interviews as well as offer practical tools like our COVID-19 infographic, tips and guides to equip networks so that they can adapt and navigate the new ways of working.

In addition, we have our senior networks champions campaign on social media sharing their thoughts on why networks are important and we have created a social media toolkit.

On Networks Day itself, on 13th May, we are planning a number of online activities throughout the day including the hosting the biggest networks virtual lunch and learn!

We are delighted to have sponsors like Bank of America, Peabody, Reed Business Information and The Power of Staff Networks. We are also working in partnership with Voice At The Table who are offering spaces for network leaders and senior sponsors on their various webinars and podcasts. The support of our sponsors and partners means that we can continue empowering networks to be influential and effective. More now than ever, networks need to encourage collaboration, support aligned activity and further inspire the voice of network members. This is how they add value and that is worth celebrating. We hope you will show your support.

 

www.networksday.co.uk

@day4networks

#makingworkbetter #addingvalue

[1] © National Day for Staff Networks Campaign CIC

[2] The rewards and benefits received by the organisation as a result of the Network activities

COVID-19: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

You could not write a better fiction than the one we’re living now.  A "foreign" virus spreading like wildfire across the globe.  People panicking and running for the hills – but not before plundering the shops clear of loo rolls; opportunists buying up precious stock to sell on e-Bay to the highest bidder; companies having to embrace remote working, whatever their state of preparedness; governments yielding war-time-like power, confining us to house arrest.
So that’s the bad and the ugly.  Where, you say, is the good?

For weeks we’ve been bombarded by social media rants about action, inaction, people’s fears and reactions. I suppose people are still processing what’s happening. What impresses me, however, is how communities are coming together to help. Every neighbourhood has seen a number of community WhatsApp groups spring up with the aim of helping those in self-isolation and worse. Food banks are staying open, offering relief. Messages of hope and a new way of life are flooding our devices. We are finally seeing the human side of the pandemic – and it is remarkable.

In playing our part, we consulted our own experts, trainers and coaches and asked them to share their advice on how not to get disheartened about the inconveniences, the worries about others, the economy and the future. I have captured their thoughts below:

  • Focus on what positive change could come from this time of challenge – as a society realising what matters, being less greedy, re-finding real community.
  • Consider how we are all in this together, whilst some will be more adversely affected in terms of health and finances, nobody is 100% immune.
  • Use the time for activities and to spend time with those we love that is usually hard to do in our busy lives.
  • Massive global traumas have happened before and the world is still turning.
  • My mindfulness practice stops me getting overwhelmed, it calms me (Headspace is now offering free 'Weather the Storm’ meditations).
  • Worrying won't change anything, but it will change how we feel, so let's focus on the positive.  Start a list of all of the pleasant surprises or other benefits that have come from this situation. Increased community spirit, trying sweet potatoes instead of white ones, having time to play board games in the week.
  • Stay connected - in times like these it’s natural to want to cocoon yourself - get out there and talk to people
  • Reframe the situation. It occurred to me during a coaching session that all norms are gone. So, if you have new boundaries, habits or patterns you want to establish, this is the best time to give them a go.
  • Limit your exposure to social media (SM) and news channels. SM is a great way to stay connected but is currently the main source of anxiety!  Restrict yourself to an hour or so per day.
  • People are talking about using this time for self-improvement, to “become the best person they can be”, or to be home-schooling supremo. But if that’s not where your head is right now, that’s absolutely fine too. These are worrying times. So - ignore the “self-actualisers”.  Do what YOU need to do, to feel safe and well.  If that means watching Friends re-runs in your PJs, do it.
  • Maintaining a ‘stiff upper lip’ is all very well, but give yourself space to feel whatever you’re feeling.  Suppressed feelings - fear, sadness, anger - have a habit of popping up and causing havoc when you (and your family) least expect them to.  Let them wash over you, remind yourself that the feelings will pass, then move on.

And finally, one of the coaches offered this quote by Laura Kelly Fanucci:

When this is over, may we never again take for granted

A handshake with a stranger

Full shelves at the store

Conversations with the neighbours

A crowded theatre

Friday night out

The taste of communion

A routine check-up

The school rush each morning

Coffee with a friend

The stadium roaring

Each deep breath

A boring Tuesday

Life itself.

When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be

We were called to be

We hoped to be

And may we stay better for each other because of the worst.

...

So, let us relish the good, know that the bad will pass and stave off the ugly. Stay well, look after yourselves and loved ones and remember what it means to be human.

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