It’s all a bit of a blur when I think back over the 20/21 FY. This time last year Victorians, specifically those living in greater Melbourne, were 10 days into a second lockdown which would end up maxing out to 111 days. It’s hard to imagine how we all got through it, but we did. I understand however, for some it left its mark triggering all manner of mental health challenges with a minimum 25% increase in call volumes to support services like Lifeline .There was a plethora of timely articles available online providing sage advice on how to cope with those single dwellers and others amongst us suffering the most.
When I return to the blogs that I wrote, then on a weekly basis, the topics were all about adapting what we had previously taken for granted, to a remote, essentially virtual setting. Blog topics ranged from:
- How to apply for jobs
- Interviewing virtually
- Compulsory mask wearing spawned tips on interpreting people’s emotions using eyes only
- Virtual networking
- Reasons to be cheerful
- Staying motivated while WFH
As you can see, the topic headings alone tell their own tale. I hosted an online catch up ZOOM every Friday afternoon during lockdown for anyone wanting to chime in and complete their working week with something that sort of heralded the beginning of our weekend, albeit still at home. While I am glad of way more freedom to go out and celebrate the week, part of me still misses those weekly catch ups (albeit small part).
The job market took a hit on this COVID-coaster ride, June 2020 the number of unemployed was at 14.7%, June 2021 it is at 5.1%. (ABS). As we emerged from lockdown on 26th October, yes October, nationally the job market had already picked up significantly, with Victoria trailing behind. Release from lockdown was joyously celebrated and organisations did not waste any time playing catchup finally able to fill roles that may have been placed in a holding pattern in March. But of course, by then working from home had been entrenched, and there has been no return to pre-COVID onsite attendance. Those days are gone forever with office occupancy rates in Melbourne, while increasing, sitting at 41% one year on.
While it is clear that we have a way to go living with COVID, we have learnt and adapted a lot. We should congratulate ourselves. This has been a really interesting exercise to take a look back over the past FY and it is with great hope that I look forward to what 21/22 will bring.
Happy EOFY everyone!