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Covid: One year on 5 Apr 2021 - 3 min read

‘I fear even the introverts are missing people’: Remote working, team isolation yet to reveal its deep impact

By Andrea Ingham, Head of Marketing, OTR

As Head of Marketing at Adelaide-based OTR, Peregrine was ranked 9th in top 500 companies last year 2020 with revenues circa $2.6bn, Andrea Ingham’s marketing remit includes a national fuel and convenience operation, along with the master franchise for Oporto, Guzman Y Gomez and Krispy Kreme in South Australia. Ingham has only done two dozen Zoom meets since Covid took hold last year – and fears the impact of team isolation and remote working is still to bite.

People seem tired, restless and missing the rhythm that came with the pre-Covid workplace and routine. Is it time to relook at this new normal and really assess how it is working for everyone?

Andrea Ingham, Head of Marketing, OTR

Firstly, a short disclaimer: I started my current role as Head of Marketing at OTR in Dec 2020 when South Australia was as back to normal as normal can be these days.

Our long-planned move from Sydney to Adelaide in March 2020 turned out to be impeccable timing. Work wise, I consulted for a couple of months prior to starting at OTR but things in Adelaide were pretty ‘open’ and face to face meetings were a thing.

I’ve only participated in about two dozen zoom meetings and that is plenty for me.

I like people.

I like working with people, talking to people and seeing people – face to face.

I even like going into an office to work, which I do every day.

I fear even the introverts are missing people.

There were a couple of ways I observed Covid play out in the workplace:

  • People who worked much harder than normal as their business was accelerated from Covid – I can only imagine Lisa Ronson (Coles CMO) worked months without a day off.
  • And then there were those who worked hard, fruitlessly, as they tried to generate revenue where there was a sudden and vast Covid hole – this camp were often paid less and stressed about losing their job most days, which some did.

Most of it done sitting in front of a computer, at home, on a non-ergonomic chair.  I really couldn’t see many winners. As we settle into this new world, I wonder how people are feeling about their new normal?

UnLtd’s Chris Freel touched on the impact of lost routine, virtual fallout, and isolation in this excellent piece in Mi3 from August 2020

Chris referred to a mental health study updated in May 2020 that reports 58% of people in the industry were feeling depressed and 52% anxious. Sadly, these high numbers were only slightly elevated on the original February 2020 study. I wonder where these numbers would sit now?

People seem to have settled into a new work rhythm.  Different hours in different places in different ways. This is the biggest overhaul in the way people work that we’ve ever experienced, out of need rather than design.

A kind of hybrid neither here nor there mix of what we used to do and what we had to do during Covid.  It’s a bit of a mess really.

People seem tired, restless and missing the rhythm that came with the pre-Covid workplace and routine. Is it time to relook at this new normal and really assess how it is working for everyone? 

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