Andrew Laird from City Bible Forum recently read that lockdown has caused “the biggest shakeup of the Australian workplace since World War II”. It sounds sensational, but on the whole, Vision listeners agree. In a poll on our Facebook, we asked “do you think your workplace after the COVID-19 crisis will look the same as before”? More than 70 per cent said no.
Andrew’s Interview on 20Twenty
And it seems business as usual is off the table for the foreseeable future. Governments have tried to minimise the impact of economic shockwaves through various measures like the Job Keeper program, but if that ends as planned later this year, many more employees could lose their jobs, forcing businesses to fight over even fewer customers.
So how can we as Christians respond to these times? Laird has developed a set of five principles to help guide us through the days ahead, as we gradually return to workplaces that will inevitably be somewhat different to the ones we left a couple of months ago. “” I think those principles relate to whether you’re a CEO or a junior employee,” he said.
Before his interview with 20Twenty’s Neil Johnson, Laird took a 7:30 teleconference via Zoom, then had breakfast with his family and helped his kids get ready for school before returning to work. He’s enjoying not having to endure commutes during Melbourne’s brutal winter. These are just a couple of ways lockdown has offered benefits to some workers, which may be about to disappear.
“What we’re going to be going through has already been and will continue to be disruptive,” Laird said. And there’s going to be some colleagues who’ve loved the working from home, and loved the balance of work and family that they’ve been able to have in this season.”
“Then there’s going to be other colleagues of ours who just can’t wait to get back into the office, or wherever it is they work, and be around their colleagues. And I think we need to have patience as we’re all moving back into this new, post-COVID workplace.”
Some missionaries, when they return to their home countries, feel as out of place as they did when they arrived in the field. “Coming home is almost harder than the original culture shock that they experienced. And I think to some degree we’re all going to experience a degree of reverse culture shock, as we go back into our workplaces. And that’s going to be harder for some people than others.”