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Lockdown 3.0. Something most of us would have thought preposterous last March as the UK entered into its first period of confinement due to Covid 19. And yet, here we are, almost twelve months on and currently mid-way through our latest round of restrictions with every likelihood six weeks will soon become twelve, if not more.

As if winter isn’t a dour enough time of year, we’re being cooped up at home for weeks on end, too, with friends and family pretty much off-limits. It’s no wonder lockdown is having an impact on the minds and bodies of people across the UK, from the young to the not-so-young. Which means it is vital we do all we can to stay in shape and preserve our wellbeing during the latest period of restriction.

It’s tough staying motivated – not to mention motivating others around you, which anyone in a leadership role will understand all too well. And yet there are a few simple measures you can put in place quickly to make sure your team remains in as tip-top condition as they can, so they’re able to perform their job. HR advisors take note!


Encourage mindfulness

These are trying times at the minute, making it all the more important you and your team are creating a space in your life to take stock, breathe, and recognize all the fabulous things our world has to offer – despite how it feels currently.  You’ll likely have a few yoga fans among your team members already; this is certainly no new ‘fad’ and an activity many people practice regularly to help stabilize the mind (and body!). Although mindfulness needn’t come through yoga, with plenty of other ways to master the same techniques and calm the brain. Meditating every day proves highly-effective for many people as a means to keep grounded. Or, for those who find the whole Zen vibe too tough to tap into, perhaps introduce the concept of ‘gratitude’ to your team and how noting down the things they feel grateful for each day can drive positivity which in itself, is good for the mind.


Block out regular breaks

Obvious, yes. But who does this? We’ll bet it’s a fraction of you. And when your team is working remotely – as is currently the case with most across the country (asides our wonderful frontline workers, that is) – you have less clue than ever about who is taking a break and when. How about setting a break-out timetable for your team? Put two ten-minute time slots into their calendar, one in the morning and again in the afternoon, and encourage a quick garden walk where possible or, at the very least, a long gaze out of the window! Many of us are already in good habits here – like taking a regular 20-minute screen break for our eyes – and yet getting up from our seat doesn’t always prove so easy! A quick leg-stretch regularly will work wonders for the team’s productivity, but they might just a need a nudge, that’s all.


Try something new!

Now, naturally, this comes with limited options thanks to the lockdown. We are talking life-long goals here, like taking a parachute jump or trekking to the Everest base camp. So, while these types of activity remain off-limits, your team members can still consider something closer to home and simple to complete. Perhaps suggest a hobby you and your team can take up as a collective (the ‘safety in numbers’ approach)? How about something food or drinks related? Maybe the ‘not so nifty’ in the kitchen might have a go at an online cooking course to up their skills. Or try something homely, like creating jams or chutneys, or brewing wine or beer. If everyone chooses to pursue an activity on their own, make sure they share their goal with the group – once shared, it is more of a commitment and more likely to find success.


Talk often – and listen more!

As if your team wanted another Zoom, Teams or Google Meet catch up… Only, during periods of lockdown, communication becomes more vital than ever before. Call them a check-in, so your team members know this is not a work-specific meeting and more a means to chat. No agenda, just an off the record chinwag about absolutely anything that they wish to. You’ll have a real mix across your team of those speaking with family and friends regularly, and others who perhaps don’t have the luxury for a plethora of reasons. Why not give them the stage at least once a week, to chat about anything that is not work-specific – from their latest Netflix fix to a new knitting pattern they are following. The subject is irrelevant, but their ‘Friday 15 minutes of Fame’ – or whatever equivalent you can conjure – is an opportunity to be open with one another, without talking shop.


Read. Listen. Learn!

Most of us can read well and do so every single day – online news and views, friends’ social media updates, and browsing websites for starters. How about encouraging your team to trade in the digital matter for a good old-fashioned book? It needn’t be a fictional storybook, either – although we’d suggest you make it one should you be keen for an escape from the real world! If fiction isn’t your thing, then go for something more factual, like a history book or a biography – whatever sparks interest and promises to transport you elsewhere for a while. If reading genuinely isn’t your thing, then how about switching print for a podcast series? There are plenty about now covering all kinds of topics, with something bound to whet the appetite and help the mind switch off a little.


Workout online

If you’re the type who needs a ‘class’ to get your exercise on, why not give an online workout a go? We’ve already mentioned yoga, which has upped its online game considerably since Covid struck. There is an abundance in workout classes you can enjoy – or endure – from the comfort of home, from aerobics to Zumba! If you’re a gym member, you will likely have access to an online service already to compensate for less time spent in the weights room or Spin-class studio. Or, check out the Guardian article on ideas to stay fit at home, some with subs attached and others completely free. And don’t forget the UK’s leading lockdown legend, Joe Wicks, whose YouTube fitness channel posts classes for all ages and stages!

Let’s stay well, everyone.


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