If you had asked me last New Year what was the longest time I expected to be away from the office in 2020 I would probably have guessed the ICCA Congress in Kaohsiung. Perhaps ten days out of the office to include travel, leisure, conference and recovery time – maybe 14 if I wanted to make a holiday of it.
How different things look from the midst of a pandemic that has reshaped our industry beyond all recognition. According to the official calendar, I was home as winter turned to spring, midsummer’s day past us by and even right through now to the start of a brand new year.
Staying positive and maintaining a bright outlook on life has been vital to my wellbeing throughout the past year and it all starts with an early morning walk. Each day, rain or shine I have walked for at least half an hour, taking that time to reflect, plan and enjoy the world around me. I am lucky enough to live on the west coast of Wales (definitely more rain than shine) so along with the passing of the seasons I have witnessed and taken pleasure in all that nature has sent my way, whether it be calves and lambs in the surrounding fields, fledglings leaving their nests or the abundance of both wild and cultivated flowers in and around my garden.
This connection to nature and a positive start to each day has been reflected across my team and in the work we do. Despite being apart, our team has grown closer, we communicate better and through support from each other as well as the organisation as a whole we have focused on the health and well-being of staff throughout these challenges. We achieve this through focused one-to-one conversations, ensuring everyone takes time out to look after themselves, fostering an attitude that places people above all else.
I encourage you all to start each day with a stroll. It doesn’t matter if you are in the heart of a global metropolis, a small town, or the middle of nowhere. Walking each day gets the blood flowing and according to countless research it reduces stress and improves cognitive thought… what better way to prepare to do your best in the office, as we work together with colleagues and friends to ensure we all can meet again soon.
Written by Jackie Boughton, Head of Business Events, Barbican
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