A year ago, BACP Workplace was in production when the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said it would be a ‘good outcome’ if deaths were kept as low as 20,000.
As I write, over 126,000 people have tested positive and lost their lives in the UK during the pandemic. The UK has the worst death toll per capita of any of the world’s large economies, yet the UK Government has rejected calls for a public inquiry into its handling of the pandemic.1 The call for a public inquiry is organised by COVID-19 Families for Justice, with the support of the BMA, the TUC, UK Black Pride, the Race Equality Foundation and Disability Rights UK, seeking answers for the bereaved and to protect the health of the nation from the inevitability of future pandemics.
We know that when a traumatic event occurs, people have a deep need to find out what, how and why, to ask questions and to receive answers. However, according to the Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, the reopening of the economy is the main priority for the Government, and launching an inquiry now would be premature. It’s ironic because, if we are to learn anything from the last 12 months, isn’t it that the economy and health are completely intertwined?
The pandemic has revolutionised our working lives at lightning speed, so it’s fitting that a year on, our lead article written by Nicola Neath asks the question, are you facing digital burnout? It was the topic of Nicola’s presentation at this year’s virtual Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference, held over five days. Ordinarily, it runs at the NEC over three days, but perhaps the extra two days of conference time is a good indicator that there are some things that take us longer online, and demand more energy and concentration than they would if we were in person.
Yet, I see little or no acknowledgement of this, either on the part of the employees that I work with, or their employers. Now we’ve made the shift online, there’s a blind spot to seeing what it could be costing us, and to looking at how we might need to adapt our workloads and diaries for the good of our health and wellbeing. Too often, this leaves employees confused by their overwhelmed reactions, and with a sense of frustration that they are unable to meet their own or their manager’s expectations.
There are multiple truths when it comes to our experience of COVID-19, but one truth is that many of us are working harder and longer than ever and the demand for emotional and psychological support at work can feel relentless. For this reason, you’ll find much in this issue of BACP Workplace about how we support ourselves, our clients and our organisations as we find ways to endure the pandemic.
Nicola Banning, Editor,