Only change is permanent – in life and in work

What can the coronavirus crisis teach us about a better working life?

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"Don't let a good crisis go to waste"

This is the comment made by author and inventor Perttu Pölönen in a story published in Yle News in mid-March. I have considered the statement on several occasions during the past spring and summer. For many of us, the coronavirus has meant some kind of crisis and brought inevitable changes to our daily lives for all. But how do we deal with crises? Do they paralyze them, or can you learn something from them?

At first, it seemed that I myself would get away with the changes brought about by the coronavirus crisis. Master's level studies have been quite independent anyway, with lectures in just a few weeks. Now they could easily be listened to at home as recordings. At Repo Work, we had already favoured teleworking because of different life situations and places to live, unnecessary travel to avoid. At first it was even lovely to stay at home, often in a nightgown, to work on projects at your own pace with a cup of coffee. There suddenly seemed to be more free time.

I am ashamed to admit that at first I enjoy these small changes brought about by the corona spring.

I am ashamed to admit that at first I enjoy these small changes brought about by the corona spring. However, the consequences of crisis situations are often not immediately visible, but only over a longer period of time. This applies both at the level of the individual and at the level of society. In my case, the early spring "holiday" soon turned into tediousness, and constantly being at home depressed and transited. The lack of routines made me feel inefficient, and I started to miss the office and the university again, with people. The importance of the work and study community was only noticed when it was no longer a foregone conclusion.

According to Pölönen, crises sensitate to growth.

In my experience, this is true, when crisis situations are making things that are already challenging even more difficult. Personally, I have had to face my difficulty in toleting precarious situations and the fail of plans, and trying to learn to live more in this moment. Crisis situations are also inevitably a stagnation in one's own life and its values. Especially now, after the restrictions have partially lifted, everyone has to think about what is important to themselves and what things are willing to give up.

It would be important for everyone in working life to be able to realise themselves and their own values, to make themselves feel relevant. At Repo Work, we want to work for a more human-friendly working life. For us, it means work communities where everyone can be themselves, are heard and, if possible, can also influence their own job description and working methods. As I said, some people are okay with working remotely, while others aren't. Personally, I'd rather do some kind of combination of office and teleworking.

What can we learn from the coronavirus crisis?

We want to challenge work communities to consider what lessons can be learned from the coronavirus crisis, in addition to the practices of teleworking and the importance of the work community. According to the famous statement of the ancient philosopher Herakleitos, only change is permanent and certain in life. I believe that this also applies well to modern working life. However, we can also influence ourselves the direction in which the coronavirus crisis is taking the world of work. Let's not let a good crisis go to waste!

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