I just needed to be sure of you

Richard Martin




If someone does sidle up to you, they may just need to take your paw, so please don’t have your hands in your pockets.

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.

“Pooh” he whispered.

“Yes, Piglet?” said Pooh.

“Nothing”, said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw, “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

In our “normal” busy office based lives, with time at a premium, there is rightly a focus on making sure we do not waste people’s time, that we use meetings wisely and sparingly and that communication is focussed and to the point. And there is a lot to be said for all of that. Sometimes though, we can feel a bit disconnected, a little lost, a little unsure, a bit Piglet like. Sometimes we don’t have or need any greater purpose for a quick chat than just to be sure of someone – normally ourselves.

In an office we can do that as we pass by someone in the corridor or the lift, or grab a quick smile and hello in the café at lunch time. Working remotely, we might need to make more of an effort to be sure of someone. And in this newly disconnected working environment, with everything else going around us, we may find we need that more often and more intensely than ever.

We may have great comms systems in place and there may be signposts on the intranet and contact lists in various places, but if I am feeling a bit lost, a bit scared, maybe I don’t want to make a fuss, I just need to sidle up quietly, maybe I am at my home which I share with various other newly remote workers and our wifi is feeling the strain, how easy is it?

Whoever you are in your workplace, take a moment to make sure that people who might need you have your number, in their phone, easy to hand. And the numbers of the other folk in the team. And if you are a mental health first aider, or champion, or someone involved in coordinating those helpful supports, have you thought about how accessible you or they are in the current environment? How do I know how to sidle up to them? And what about your EAP or other external resources – take a moment to remind everyone what resources exist and how to access them, and encourage people to write the number down at home somewhere it will stay and not get lost.

Finally, if someone does sidle up to you, they may just need to take your paw, so please don’t have your hands in your pockets.

At byrne·dean we are doing lots of thinking about how we can help our clients manage these difficult times and continue to work healthily and productively – most of it does not involve Piglet or Pooh. If you are interested in finding out more, please do sidle up and get in touch.