Our intrepid Covid-19 blogger, Darren Isaacs, picks up his blog where he left off as he sets off for 14 days of forced quarantine to visit his family in Australia. In this limited run of Covid Diaries, Travel Edition, he will share some of his travel and quarantine experiences alongside his musings on topical HR issues our clients are facing.
I have just had my sixth call from the Queensland government during my quarantine.
They asked me all of the same questions again: what hotel and room are you in (note to reader: they just called the hotel themselves from outside, and asked reception to put them through to my room), what is your home address, what is your date of birth, what is your Australian mobile phone number, etc, etc.
Some of the questions are just your ordinary “identity checks” (I have long stopped worrying about my own privacy at this stage of the game). Others I am not so sure about. I have now told them on multiple occasions that I do not have a local Australian mobile phone number.
In my mind, this is like one of those suspect interrogation scenes in Line of Duty. I wonder if they think I will crack at the sixth time and confess that I do, secretly, have a local mobile phone number stashed away (I don’t). Is this some sort of new criminal act that I have somehow stumbled into, like my potential muesli bar biohazard drama (see Day 3)? Just stick to your story, I tell myself, just stick to your story. I ain’t done nuffin, guv!
Ok, I might be overly dramatising this. I am a bit bored so my imagination may be getting the better of me. After all, they are just calling to check on my welfare, particularly my mental health, which is kind.
It gets me to thinking about mental health in the workplace. The recent focus on this was and remains long overdue.
What will the workplace of the near future look like?
Yesterday I wrote about hybrid working (see Day 8). But what about other aspects of work? Will we find more businesses introducing paid (or unpaid) sabbaticals, shorter working weeks, employee assistance programmes that go beyond phone counselling (e.g. emergency nannies, food shopping, cleaning)? Will workplace welfare in the future expand to include things like these as standard, at least for larger office-based workplaces?
Surely there must be some businesses that already do some of these things, and I would love to learn more.
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