We endured 2020, and many of us learnt something about ourselves and the resilience of human nature. It had tough and challenging moments – as well as some really poignant times when we embraced a "we're in this together" mentality. While looking back at how hard it was, it is just as important to reflect on the learnings, the wins and the positives of 2020.
I am amazed and proud of my team's resilience and of all people in the organisations we work with, especially those in essential services, hospitals, health care, aged care, transport and retail, who continued to show up and provide support, care and services. For those of us who worked from home, spare rooms and dining tables became impromptu office spaces. New processes and new ways of working came along, and we changed our thinking about the way we do things, focusing on our safety, health and wellbeing. From looking out for each other and loved ones to time spent on walks or exercising instead of the daily commute, the one constant was uncertainty and change. Each of us were challenged to think about how do we thrive during these times. For leaders, we were challenged and experienced the responsibility of looking after our people's wellbeing whilst balancing the needs of our businesses.
Being at the helm of AccessEAP means being close to the emotional pulse of the country. I aim to look outwards on behalf of our organisations and their people and see what matters are relevant and important on many levels; local, national and international – and also to look inwards to see how my teams are managing and what they need to thrive. What transpired for us were record numbers of managers and employees reaching out for support. This highlighted and reinforced how mental health support and a focus on wellbeing is an integral part of running a business and is increasingly a priority in any organisation's strategy for the future.
My role here has given me an amazing insight into how adaptable people can be. Change is a challenging concept for people and companies. The uncertainty can induce a lot of stress. In the face of the biggest changes that we have faced in generations, staff have shown flexibility, and managers have shown compassion and incredible kindness. AccessEAP will work with you as we face similar or new challenges in 2021 whether that includes a transition to the office or to a new normal (whatever that may look like) for your people, through individual support, coaching for managers and people leaders, and learning and development opportunities for teams.
We have seen ordinary Australians show what extraordinary things they can do when called upon. This gives me great hope about how quickly we will recover and move forward to thrive with whatever 2021 brings. We must acknowledge the individual losses of friends, family, work and mental health. But as a community, we will come back and support each other and those bonds will make the recovery faster.