Are any other HR people feeling a bit lonely in all this :(


Sorry its a self indulgent one.

Just wondering if anyone else is feeling a bit lonely?  I have streams of people coming in to my office concerned about it and asking what our plans are for WFH and sickness and about 101 other queries and being openly worried and I have to sit here and be the cabin crew and exude calmness.  Yet I am just as concerned as everyone else.

Managers and Directors etc look to us for calm, measured guidance and practical advice, and being so close to the 'inner circle' and hearing first hand the impact on the business etc.....very worrying, I'm feeling a bit forgotten about and just wondered if anyone else is feeling the same?  It just feels like sometimes people forget that we count as employees too?  

  • In reply to Jules:

    Oh Jules, I'm sorry but I did laugh about your Smurf comment.

    If it helps, I was midway through answering a question about juggling having children at home when also working, during a remote working tips webinar to about 200 people including senior management, when in bursts my 7 year old saying "Mummy look at this picture I did" and then he persisted in staying to say hello to everybody despite me saying I'm on a call and would see it in five minutes.

    Everyone was very understanding and we had a good laugh about it afterwards. Cringe!
  • Hi Samantha,
    You are not alone.
    As our employees look to us for reassurance, we too also need that support. In addition it is also a challenging time in terms of adapting to new ways of working, such as working from home.
    I have been working from home since Tuesday and it has been a real period of adjustment, with trying to keep focus, while away from the usual routine of having a desk and colleagues around.
    However, I am trying to carry on by dressing as though I am going to work and checking in with colleagues, to keep that similar pattern of routine going, just to retain some normality and accept this is a change, but it won't be forever.
  • I could've written this myself. I work alone Im the only HR person for a company of 117 staff, the Directors are looking at me for advice and guidance, the staff are too and no one is remembering me. Im also a Mental Health First Aider so Im being offered out like a counselling service. Its tiring and lonely. Im also a lone worker working from home so socially isolated on top. Its not a nice place at the moment
  • I read no self-indulgence here. What I read are the admissions (for want of a better word) of a lot of people admitting to caring about not only the professional roles they play, but about those their actions and opinions affect.

    I am retired. I mentor a small group of people who I am hopefully going to help support in getting through this, and I give what advice and opinions I can on these pages, but I no longer have to face (other) employees whose jobs I am taking, or putting on warning, or whose mortgages, marriages and children's birthday presents I might be jeopardising.... But what I do still know, and remember, is that being honest, empathetic, and honestly caring toward those we sometimes have to give the "hard word" to, COUNTS.

    I have even had someone who I had just dismissed for gross misconduct shake my hand and thank me for at least listening to his side of the story.

    So now I am going to be self-indulgent and tell you all, for what it's worth, that it still gives me massive pride and fulfilment to share a profession with people like all of you. Who care about what we do, even when it's tough, and messy, and uncertain. ...And while I can't match David's contribution of thoughts for depth and poetic provenance, perhaps the motto of my first professional body, the Royal Air Force, might be borrowed by us (for a while at least): "Per Ardua, ad Astra". It means: "Through adversity, to the Stars."

    Keep it in mind.


  • In reply to David:

    Thank you so much David for this, I have enjoyed a five minute break from the chaos thinking of the water lapping at the shore - now ready to face the coalface once again!
  • In reply to Stephanie :

    I think I would rather be herding kittens at the moment. It sounds much more fun!

    I'm in a standalone role so its really difficult and I have managers who seem to think I have all the answers via my secret direct line to Boris' secretary! I've had to explain to several managers including my MD that I have pretty much the same news and updates as them and that if they're not sure they should first check the gov.uk site for advise. We've made our decisions on employees self-isolating so follow those and if an employee asks how long then guide them to the relevant site. I am not a nurse or a doctor. I am not medically qualified to advise someone on their health so point them in the direction of the amazing people who are (preferably over the phone).

    My dining table has now become my desk and I was about ready to bang my head on it this morning when a manager emailed me saying "X employee is having IVF". Nothing else, no question just that statement. My thoughts were Ok and you want me to do what, say what exactly?. I think everyone is just losing their heads completely and normally rational sensible managers are losing their common sense along with it.
  • Hi Samantha... we are always taking care of ourselves aren't we? Anyway, we need to support each other and if you need any help or just someone to chat, please give me a shout! hr@cpbasingstoke.co.uk
  • In reply to Gemma:

    There is always sanity and rationality here Gemma, it's a sanctuary for me!

    I am imagining an old rotary phone on your dining table now, for that secret direct line.

    I have also been expected not only to distinguish between a common cold and Coronavirus but also to suddenly have all the answers to educating children of all ages.

    I am also, somewhat more seriously, feeling as though I am a mental health support worker, for the colleagues that would normally be on our "watch list" as vulnerable anyway, but even more so now.

    Anyway, we had a rousing talk from our CEO on a webinar this morning, with a thank you to IT and HR. Normally we're competing for the least popular department award, now we are corporate heroes apparently.
  • In reply to Gemma:

    "I'm in a standalone role so its really difficult and I have managers who seem to think I have all the answers via my secret direct line to Boris' secretary!"

    Gemma...do we work for the same Company? haha. This is exactly how i feel and i am going to need a long holiday after this.
  • In reply to Helen:

    Helen, absolutely that is the set up! She's a lovely lady I speak to, goes by the name of Nora! She's great! Lol.

    Yes, these are the types of questions being asked by managers - how do we know if it's coronavirus and they've not just got a cold? My answer is that we don't but do you really want them here and to test the theory?
  • In reply to Nicola:

    Nicola I sympathise I really do.

    I've just come off our daily managers call where I very bluntly said to one manager who asked what are saying to staff who push back against being made to take a weeks annual leave, that the employee is more than welcome to take a weeks unpaid leave instead. And that certain individuals need to be reminded that the steps we are taking, including forcing some of them to take a weeks annual leave, is for both the good of the business and them and that we're doing all these things to try and ensure there is a business for us all to come back to at the end of all this. To which I got a rousing "well said" by our sales manager which made me feel somewhat better about being so blunt.
  • In reply to Jacqueline:

    Reading your post was like looking in the mirror. It’s important that we balance our own wellbeing as well as being the professionals who keep up to date with the latest developments. It’s exhausting, and we need to look after our families at this time also!
  • Hi Samantha,
    Feeling very much as you are but you are not alone as we as a profession are all facing very similar situations and all we can do is our best for people. Even if unfortunately it is not the information they wish to hear.
  • In reply to Joanne O'Hagan:

    Joanne I can really empathize as I described my menopause like being hit by a tsunami or some kind of crazy reverse puberty!! I found mindfulness techniques and the Headspace App (lots of others available) really helpful and am certainly using them at the moment. Dr Ranjan Chatterjee put a great podcast out last week which I've listened to more than once on my journey home from work. I'd recommend a listen. I have also set up an email template (to help direct staff to resources they can use) with various reputable links for mental well-being sites like Mind so am happy to forward this to you if it helps. Lots of virtual hugs
  • Yes but in a slightly different way - I seem to have been relegated as a Furloughed employee and basically left out of everything