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Taking care of your team in lockdown

With a team of 10, seven full-time plus three part-time, we are now spread across our homes instead of having a nice central hub in which to gather.

Tuesday, August 31st 2021, 5:30PM

by Russell Hutchinson

Of course, the point of level four restrictions is to avoid gatherings and we are keen to do that – and we guess you are too as I read there has been a high level of compliance with the restrictions.

Fortunately, like a lot of online businesses, we can keep working – but there are complications.

Conversations over the past two weeks make it clear that we share those challenges with many of you.

Here are some of the things we have tried and some of the advisers we have been talking with have tried to keep their teams working, while acknowledging the challenges of working while at home in a difficult time.

1. Imagine the context; Your staff will have a different home context to you.

Accommodation may be more limited. For young people, it may be shared with flatmates. For others, it may be children and partners. We must bear that in mind when thinking about what work they can and cannot do at home. Especially when thinking about data security.

2. Have limited expectations; There are limitations at home and additional time required to attend to things such as children, shopping with long queues (especially here in Auckland where several supermarkets were closed or short-staffed due to being locations of interest).

These constrain the efforts of the team. We placed a priority on taking care of customers but have been a bit more limited in some of our other plans – at least until new routines and ways of working have been established.

3. Set some goals; While being realistic is vital, I still feel that we need to set some goals.

The ‘Groundhog Day’ feel in a lockdown can be eased by having a clear goal for the working week, knocking that over, and then having a proper weekend away from work.

4. Check-in; We value check-ins.

Online, in video meetings, and by phone. Talking to people outside the house is a major gain.

5. Assist with technology; After all, tech is an essential item.

Most people have learned from the previous lockdowns how to cope and have sufficient kit at home to manage. But things still fail. I had a monitor fail a week ago – but fortunately, most tech items are deemed essential and can be bought in lockdown and delivered to your door.

Treat a staff member to a second monitor and a decent keyboard is great for productivity and makes for a treat too.

6. Share; In a recent team chat one member of staff shared a painting she had done.

Others, tales of storm damage from last night. We hope to see pictures of pets. Sharing helps everyone feel connected.

7. Keep going; To the best extent we can, keep going.

Even a little forward motion is good for energy levels. Some people thrive online, while others find face-to-face work vital.

But if one form of work is limited, there is nearly always something else to do. The FMA reminded us that they are happy to take applications for full licenses right now.

Tags: Covid-19 lockdown Opinion Russell Hutchinson

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