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Get action-ready for Alert Level 3

22 Apr 2020 by Mike Tisdall

From Tuesday 28 April we are moving to Alert Level 3. While many things will be the same – like working and learning from home - there are some significant changes. The week ahead is about ‘getting ready’ for the...

Coronavirus
get action-ready for alert level 3 mike tisdall
from tuesday 28 april we are moving to alert level 3. while many things will be the same – like working and learning from home - there are some significant changes. the week ahead is about ‘getting ready’ for the move to level 3.
 
over the last month, we’ve done a good thing in new zealand, something that few countries around the world have achieved. before getting fixated on more restrictions and further hardships, take a moment to pat yourself on the back for keeping you and your family safe. you’ve helped new zealand get covid-19 under control – we should all feel very proud.
 
we’ve been home for four weeks now, and many of us have been hanging out for the end of lockdown. but the move to level 3 will mean little change for most of us. we’ll be spending most of our time at home, and in our bubble, for at least three more weeks. prepare yourself for it. talk to your family about it. think about what has worked well over the last month and how can you do more of this? what new things do you need to keep everyone active, engaged and motivated?
 
and with at least three more weeks to go, what new skills can you learn?
 
the exploring rules are relaxed a little allowing us to go ‘regional.’ the ability to go for a walk or run at the local beach or park will be a relief for many. for others, just going for a drive will be a relief. (start the car this week – making sure it’s ready to go for next week!) make a plan of the local places you’ll visit and what you’ll do while you are there. how will you get there safely and maintain your social distancing while you’re there? planning will help build up the anticipation.
 
the biggest change at level 3 is the wider economic activity in which we can engage. what will that mean for you? are you happy to go back to the supermarket or other stores that were closed during lockdown or would you rather keep getting things delivered? what are the non-essentials you’ve been hanging out for? order them this week to be delivered as soon as your favourite retailers are up and running again. getting in there early will reinforce that things have changed.
 
while the move to level 3 helps business in general, for many it will bring little change. for forestry, construction and retailers with online shopping, the move will be a welcome relief. think about your clients that will potentially be better off at level 3. what support can your business give them to help the transition and rebuilding processes? what about businesses, like restaurants and takeaways that are still restricted? are there ideas, products, services or support you can help them with?
 
while level 3 still excludes socialising, there is now an ability to extend your bubble a little. neighbours, close friends and family are the obvious first consideration. if you’re living alone, create a bubble of people in a similar position. agree to catch-up regularly (and exclusively!). think about the kids. can you include one of their friends in your wider bubble so they’ll be able to have play dates at each other’s houses? what a difference that would make to both kids and to parents!
 
while we are getting ready to make some changes, we can’t forget the importance of staying safe. in fact, with more contact we need to be even more vigilant. don’t forget to wash your hands regularly, check for symptoms and above all, get tested early if there is even the slightest chance you’ve been exposed to covid-19.
 
this time will pass and it will be over before you know it. the key thing is to look after yourself and your family and to stay connected with your friends and colleagues.

Planning for Level 3

15 Apr 2020 by Mike Tisdall

As we move into the tail end of the 4-week Covid-19 lockdown, with many promising signs, we start to think about what happens next and how we’ll adapt to it.   The four alert levels help us with our...

Coronavirus
planning for level 3 mike tisdall
as we move into the tail end of the 4-week covid-19 lockdown, with many promising signs, we start to think about what happens next and how we’ll adapt to it.
 
the four alert levels help us with our planning. we know what an extended level 4 looks like but what would you need to do to stay in lockdown for longer? what if we went back to level 3, or level 2? what would change and how would you cope? this could see you, or some of your family, back at work or at school but maybe not everyone. how would you manage this? use the alert levels to work through the likely scenarios. make a plan of how you’ll approach each of them. this process will help you feel more in control and be prepared when the government announces what’s next.
 
 
while we have some hope that the end is in sight, it’s important to remember that many people are still feeling stressed. now isn’t the time to stop communicating. in fact, it’s the time to step it up. stay in touch regularly and keep offering all the support you can. and that applies to you as well. if you’re feeling the stress of isolation and the impact of the wider crisis, keep reaching out to friends, family and for professional support.
 
lockdown hasn’t been all bad, has it? we’ve learned to work from home more effectively and to connect with each other in new ways. there’s is no reason to not keep going with some of our new practices. make a plan for what the ‘new normal’ could look like. for example, keep having regular virtual catchups (and drinks) with colleagues and friends. keep buying groceries online. zoom your customers rather than flying or driving to see them. work from home more regularly.
 
it’s only natural to worry about what happens next. you’ll have many questions and concerns. will it be safe to go back to the office, to the supermarket, the mall or to get back on public transport? don’t let the volume of your fears consume you. write them down and talk to your family and friends about them. as the government announces what’s next and how we’ll get there, tick your concerns off. then only deal with the one or two you don’t have satisfactory answers for. make a plan for them.
 
this crisis has impacted businesses in different ways and will create uncertain times ahead for many. for some, the focus will shift from long-term growth to short-term survival mode. think about your work and how priorities may change. most businesses will be focused on getting their revenue back up as soon as possible, reducing unnecessary expenses and ensuring they have cashflow to keep paying their rent, their staff and their suppliers.
 
how can you think differently about what you do, and how you do it, to help your employer and your own job security?
 
while you’re thinking about your work and how priorities will change, think about your customers as well. what is likely to be different for them going forward? how can you help them recover faster? if need be, just ask them – they’ll thank you for thinking of them. supporting their success will help your business succeed and this will help you get through as well.
 
one of the positives to come out of the covid-19 crisis is the way we’ve united and supported each other. many of your friends, families and colleagues will be facing the same uncertainties as you about this next phase. some will be worse-off, looking to re-establish their business, their health, their employment and their finances. how can you help? it could be as simple as giving them advice and contacts, assisting with jobs around the house, carpooling to reduce the need to use public transport or taking the kids for a bit so they can focus on rebuilding their business or finding work. start by asking them how you can help.
 
this time will pass and it will be over before you know it. the key thing is to look after yourself and your family and to stay connected with your friends and colleagues.

Keeping up the momentum

07 Apr 2020 by Mike Tisdall

Last week we focused on getting your routine up and running. As the third week of working from home kicks off, the focus is keeping the momentum going through to Easter. Here are some more practical tips and tricks...

Coronavirus
keeping up the momentum mike tisdall
last week we focused on getting your routine up and running. as the third week of working from home kicks off, the focus is keeping the momentum going through to easter. here are some more practical tips and tricks to help you remain focused and engaged.
 
 
you may be starting to go a bit stir crazy and, at times, be feeling overwhelmed by the stream of bad news. there are lots of online blogs from qualified mental health professionals with some good ideas on how to look after yourself. the key recommendations coming through are to exercise daily, stay connected with your loved ones, switch off the noise and misinformation of social media and to focus on things you can control. one of the best recommendations is to ‘give yourself a break’. don’t put too much pressure and unrealistic expectation on yourself. these are stressful times, very few people will perform at the level they did before.
 
 
as we are less busy during this third week, time will become one of our big challenges. it will seem to pass slower and a sense of monotony may set in. make sure you keep yourself busy with a mixture of work, home and personal things. develop a list of things you can do and refer to it whenever you’re not sure what to do next. rather than thinking about how to get through the day, break the day into chunks and just focus on getting through the next few hours.
 
 
most businesses are finding things are slowing down as their customers and clients are doing, and spending, less. whether it’s external or internal customers, make sure you’re keeping in touch with them. actively look for ways to add value to their activities. think about the sorts of things you can do that will help make their life easier – things you would have done for them in the past if only you’d had the time. the way we support our customers over this period will shape our relationship when things return to normal.
 
 
you’ll find many in your team are feeling the same and are facing many of the same challenges as you. touch base, compare notes and give each other suggestions on supporting customers, looking after your health and other work and personal matters. keep in touch with your customers, suppliers and regular work contacts. ask how you can help and help where you can.
 
 
it’s only natural to think about the health of the business and whether your job is safe. cashflow and revenue are the biggest challenges facing business at the moment. think about the things you can do to help. this could be ideas to save money, new product or service ideas, ways to help out customers in troubled times or ideas to get customers to spend more or to pay quicker. helping the business get through these troubled times will make you feel you’re doing something positive to achieve a good outcome for the business and for you.
 
 
easter is nearly upon us and there’s no doubt it will be very different from any easter we’ve experienced before. make celebrating it a focus for the week. a positive celebration will do you good. this could be easter activities with the family like painting eggs or making hot cross buns together. think about your colleagues as well. what can you do to wish them a happy easter in a novel way? and this extends to your customers and suppliers: send them an email or ecard wishing them a good easter.
 
 
while it’s too early to know exactly when the lockdown will end, it’s not too early to start thinking about what will happen when it does. when you go back to the office what will the priorities be? what will you do differently? are there things – such as sales tools, procedures, job descriptions, promotions, diversity and inclusiveness or values initiatives - that would help you hit the ground running? get started now so you are ready to go when the time comes.
 
this time will pass and it will be over before you know it. the key thing is to look after yourself and your family and to stay connected with your friends and colleagues.

Establishing a routine when working from home

02 Apr 2020 by Mike Tisdall

As week two of working from home settles in, it’s time for a few more practical tips and tricks to help you remain effective while still balancing the many demands on your time and wellbeing. While last week was...

Coronavirus
establishing a routine when working from home mike tisdall
as week two of working from home settles in, it’s time for a few more practical tips and tricks to help you remain effective while still balancing the many demands on your time and wellbeing. while last week was focused on getting everything sorted – your workspace, technology, access to files, etc – this week is more about establishing your routine.
 
 
decide what time you’ll start and stop work each day and when you’ll take breaks. chances are the family are home as well and the kids are possibly on their school holidays. they all need, and deserve, time with you too. schedule this in. a good schedule will help with your mental wellbeing, frees up guilt-free time with the family, and ensures everyone understands when you’re ‘at work’ and when you’re ‘at home.’
 
think about how much time you spent getting to and from work every day. how can you use this time in more rewarding ways over the next few weeks? exercise? write? paint? make music? learn a new language? bake? master a new hobby? watch all eight seasons of game of thrones?
 
start with all the meetings you would normally have with your clients and your team. set them up as zoom, microsoft teams or skype meetings and invite everyone so it’s in their diary as well. then think about adding in some extra meetings to make up for the usual face-to-face interactions that happen in a typical week. keeping your meetings going helps to maintain a sense of normality, ensures you stay connected with your key people and breaks up the monotony of your day.
 
one of the things you’ll miss most about the office is that regular social interaction with your colleagues. discussions at the photocopier, in the kitchen and just around the office every day. to ensure this still happens, schedule coffee breaks to catch up over zoom and chat and keep friday drinks going – get everyone to grab their own drink before ‘hanging-out’ virtually to end the week’s work.
 
for many, last week was the first time they did zoom or microsoft teams meetings. for others, it was the first time on a facebook hangout. now you know how it works and how easy it is, find out what more you can do with it. have a play. change your settings and backgrounds, set up alerts and set up groups. all these platforms have help functions and there are many youtube tutorials.
 
make a list of all the people you interact with on a normal week. this includes your team, your clients, your partners, your suppliers and your stakeholders. make a point of checking in with each of them at least once over the week. in times of isolation we all need to talk and connect more, definitely not less.
we all have stuff at work (and at home) that we’ve been meaning to get around to but just never found the time. clean out your desktop and directories of old files. write up those procedures you’ve been meaning to for a while. set up mailing lists. sit down and make a list and over the next few weeks, as you’re wondering what to do next, go back to the list and pick one. better still, try and tick one off a day.
 
this time will pass and it will be over before you know it. the key thing is to look after yourself and your family and to stay connected with your friends and colleagues.

Home is where the . . . office is!

28 Mar 2020 by Mike Tisdall

  So here we are in lockdown while we wait out the Covid-19 uncertainty. While the concept of working from home is nothing new, implementing it nationwide for an extended period of time is, and it may take...

Coronavirus
home is where the . . . office is! mike tisdall
 

so here we are in lockdown while we wait out the covid-19 uncertainty. while the concept of working from home is nothing new, implementing it nationwide for an extended period of time is, and it may take some time to adjust to this new normal. 

this is the first in a series of posts to help you settle in to your new routine.

find a workspace away from distractions. rather than setting up on your bed or the sofa, get a good supportive chair and flat table surface at the correct heightforearms and thighs parallel to the floor, etc.
 

without your usual morning commute, the transition from your pillow to your computer can be difficult. set your alarm to the regular time, make (or go get) coffee, and regular work clothes. routines help us adapt to being productive at home.

without the usual in-office routine it’s easy to lose focus or burn out. sort your next day schedule the afternoon before. this will help you dive straight in the following morning.
be flexible if you need to, but commit to an agenda outlining every task and stick to it.
 
include breaks in your schedule. it can be easy to get distracted and forget them. use your breaks to get away from your desk. go for a walk outside or spend time with others who might also be in the house. also pick a finishing time each day and stick to it as if you have a bus or train to catch.
 
working from home might help you focus in the short term, but it can also make you feel cut off from your co-workers. use instant messaging and video conferencing tools to stay connected with the team. however, avoid social media. while important to stay in touch, it can also be a distraction especially now! switch off alerts and resist the temptation to check in during the day.

your motivation will naturally ebb and flow throughout the day. when you’re working from home, it’s all the more important to recognise when you’re at your best and plan your schedule accordingly. do creative tasks when you’re ‘hot’ and save admin for those times when you’re feeling less energetic. if you’re slow to get started in the morning, use that time for solitary tasks. save phone calls, online meetings, and other collaborative work for when you’ve officially 'woken up'.

many of us will have limited workspace that we’ll need to share. if others are at home such as roommates, kids, siblings, parents, spouses, and dogs (well, maybe not dogs) make sure they respect that just because you’re working from home it doesn’t mean you’re free to socialise. let them know your scheduled break times and make it clear you are not to be disturbed inbetween. however, human contact is important so make sure you take the time to talk to someone during your breaks especially if your work is mostly solitary.
when you’re in your own home, it can be tempting to spend time preparing a nice breakfast and lunch for yourself, chopping and cooking included. don’t use precious minutes making your food during the day; cook it the night before. preparing food ahead of time ensures you can use your meal times to eat, and that you aren’t performing non-work tasks that spend energy better used at your desk.
this season will pass, take care of yourself and check in with your team mates regularly to make sure you can have fun, sound off, and stay on task!

RealVirus or IdeaVirus? What do you think?

12 Mar 2020 by Steven Giannoulis

  Coronavirus is a phenomenon in two parts. The actual virus, I’m still in two minds about how big a deal it is, given how its numbers so dwarf annual flu statistics. Yes, we need to be cautious, especially...

Coronavirus
realvirus or ideavirus? what do you think? steven giannoulis
 

coronavirus is a phenomenon in two parts. the actual virus, i’m still in two minds about how big a deal it is, given how its numbers so dwarf annual flu statistics. yes, we need to be cautious, especially if we have reason to be, but i do sometimes wonder if we are making more of it than what it is. i’m sure those people stuck on an infested cruise ship, with no port to go to, disagree with my assessment.

and then there is the phenomenon some are calling the ideavirus. it’s this nasty virus that might end up causing more damage than the actual virus. just about every business person i’ve spoken to has their business affected by it. worse still, billions got wiped off global markets this week and many economies, like ours, suddenly move from mild growth to recession. 

as i read social media (just stop it, i hear you say!) i get the sense we are in a bit of a cultural shift that’s driving behaviours: people are not shaking hands, not hugging, buying toilet paper in crazy quantities, paying stupid prices for hand sanitiser and face masks, refusing to touch door handles, fly places, go to large meetings, press exit buttons, drink corona beer or use sign-in screens. we’ve suddenly all very aware of germs that have probably always been there. 

i found myself on the plane last night wondering about the people in the seats next to me. their duty free bags made it clear they’d been overseas, which got me thinking where they might have been. any other time i would have been thinking ‘you lucky bastards'. this time, i’m worried that they’re about to give me a little souvenir from italy, china or iran. to be fair, they looked more like london backpackers.

mindsets are changing, beliefs are being challenged and, sad to say, some of nz’s natural racist tendencies are coming out. the virus (real and ideas) has the potential to change how we live for ever. 

did you know that the early rapid rise of online shopping is directly linked to sars, that last big hysterical virus we experienced. once it become habit, many people didn’t go back to ‘normal shopping’ and online shopping grew and grew. and given how empty malls are these days, the thinking is that online shopping (and toilet paper sales) are about to have yet another huge boost as people avoid contact with other people. 

it does makes me wonder if this is yet another internet phenomenon? not like gangnam style, dancing babies and cats doing cute things, but a self-fulfilling panic we’re perpetuating ourselves through too much information – much of it half truths, speculations and uninformed opinion? if this was the days before the internet, would we be going this crazy? would it just be 'i hear there’s a particularly nasty flu going around this year'?

food for thought? what do you think? 

ideas virus, ideavirus, corona virus, hysteria
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