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The R Number, Recession and Resilience

Author: Sarah Waddington
Published: 18 May 2020

By Sarah Waddington, managing director of Astute.Work.
I’ve had to step back this week as my mental health isn’t good and it’s manifesting physically. My tells are that I’m not sleeping, I’m crying a lot and even small things seem insurmountable.
How are you?
I know I’m not alone. I’ve watched clients grapple with the move to home working and onboarding new technology and seen the resulting fatigue.
I’ve seen and experienced the emotional rollercoaster ride that friends, families and colleagues are on.
Many of us are separated from those we love and all of us are living with the voice in the back of our heads asking: ‘Will my family be ok?’
This is the new normal. There’s nothing normal about it.
It’s all relative
I consider myself, by way of my lifestyle, one of the lucky ones. As a virtual agency owner, I’m used to working from home. I launched the business during a recession so have experience of a challenging trading environment. So far everyone I love is safe and well.
However, nothing has been tougher than managing a consultancy in a crisis situation, while home schooling two boys of eight and ten. This is despite the ability to share the load with my husband and the boys’ Dad.
I’m fortunate that Astute.Work continues to service clients and pick up new work as contracts drop off, but that’s part of the challenge.
We’re demonstrating with some success how our management, PR and marketing services are helping businesses navigate this turbulence and build their social capital to drive sales now, as well as customer loyalty and advocacy for the future.
But looking at economic forecasts and the R number (the Coronavirus reproductive rate), it’s hard not to feel anxious about the future and utterly worn out by the effort it’s taken just to get here. There’s no Government support for businesses like mine, neither is there much support from the boys’ school, and it’s not easy.
In it for the long haul
We’re at the very start of a global recession that was on its way before Coronavirus and which will now be much longer and deeper.
What I’ve realised is that we all need to build resilience NOW.
Many of the great leaders I know are building strong support networks for their workforce. Please take care of you too.
Smart management teams recognise that productivity levels can and will fluctuate and are building this into their forecasting.
Organisations need to think long and hard about the impact this crisis will have on mental health, which I believe will prove the biggest cost of all. It’s all work that needs doing urgently.
Right now though, please put yourself first. My job this week is to find my way back on track and come out fighting again next.
Every time my husband says this my eyes roll but you know, he’s right: this too will pass.

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