Reset is a current buzzword. It refers to the approach we have to moving on from the impact of Covid: not to just go back, “return,” to where we were in 2019 but to learn lessons and make changes. To reset.
This is the theme of brand-strategist and author Elizabeth Uviebinené’s new book, called quite simply, The Reset, but offering “Ideas to Change How We Work and Live”. This is an ambitious project and Uviebinené’s premise is that now is not an opportunity to be missed. Her position is best summed up as:
“Being busy isn’t an Identity. Perks aren’t office Culture. Profit isn’t all we want from Business. Loneliness shouldn’t happen in a Community. We can all shape Society.”
During the pandemic, changes that business deemed too costly or too difficult and disruptive – flexible working from home – became overnight the only game in town. Our dependence on “key workers,” from those in the care professions to those keeping our supermarket shelves stocked was an overdue insight into the worth of hidden labour.
Uviebinené is right to argue that there should be no going back on these awakenings. It is though in her chapter on Community, where she looks at the pandemic of loneliness – predating Covid – that many of her points chime with the vision and the work of HRF.
We are living lives that are superficially connected (via social media and global newsfeeds) but actually disconnected as family and neighbourhood structures become stretched (by people moving far from their birth communities as well as by breakdown of relationships). Added to this, the culture of “work-activism” has mistaken the pleasure and productivity of working lives for extended hours and high stress levels.
It is in our communities that we see this disconnection lived out – so many lonely and exhausted people living so close to, yet so separately from, other lonely and exhausted people – and it is also the place where the pandemic has pressed the reset button. Uviebinené sees the “stay at home” message of governments giving a chance for people to take stock of their own homes and relationships and the wider communities of which they are a part.
At its most basic level having to stay in our own neighbourhoods has opened our eyes to them: that park we never knew existed when we rushed for the morning train, that food bank where we found we could, after all, lend a hand, that neighbour whose name we now know because we had time to find out.
Although The Home is not a separate chapter in The Reset, the book is clearly about the ways in which people can become better connected, more fulfilled and learn and develop as employees, employers, colleagues, families, neighbours and friends. Behind this is the remembrance of what had been forgotten, but never went away – the need for individuals to see themselves in relation to others, in terms of cooperation and care. These lessons are learnt in the places we all found ourselves back in: the home.
The book concludes with Uviebinené’s belief that “the gift the 2020 gave us was space and chance to work out was good and bad in our lives and to reimagine [them]”
A reset that places and reimagines the home at the heart of society for every one of its members from youngest to oldest is a gift well understood by HRF. We can all shape society – starting at home.