Bluefield Round Table Discussion: Adjusting to the New Normal
We’ve recently begun a series on “Embracing the New Normal.” A big part of Bluefield’s learning as a business is based on the individual contributions of our team members. Over the past few weeks, we’ve shared internally our experiences on adjusting to the “new normal.” We’ve now asked several our team members to share their learnings with the wider world, and posed the following question to them:
When it comes to work, what is the biggest adjustment you've had to make over the past few weeks? What have you learned from having to make this adjustment?
My biggest adjustment has been getting on a device when I want to communicate with anyone. My two biggest learnings from making this adjustment are how much it can still move things forward, especially with the online tools we have, and how it has not been such a great adjustment. Additionally, I have learned how much I enjoy being face-to- face rather than on the end of a device when talking with people.
Gerard previously ran a round table on becoming a good maintenance manager.
I would probably agree on that Gerard. Nothing quite replaces the face-to-face...you lose so much in normal conversational terms. Alas, it really has been a unique and yet rewarding experience. Not having to travel between meeting rooms...to meeting rooms etc has probably contributed to productivity to be honest......as an aside, my Family and I are making 'Covid Brings Us Closer' t-shirts, they haven't sold so well as you can only view them from a distance! (joke).
My biggest adjustment has been sharing my home and now workspace with others. Back in the old days (pre-COVID19) I was already settled in a routine working from home four days a week and travelling to the Brisbane office once a week when meeting with clients. However, when working from home, I had the house to myself and a nice quiet space to concentrate on my work. The broad effects of COVID-19 have meant that my housemate who recently moved in, is also working from home. This has meant adapting our routines to match so we are working the same hours to minimise distractions. From this experience I have learnt how important it is to establish an effective routine and stick to it. By following the same working timeframe and breaks as others living in the same space makes an enormous difference to productivity and performance.
My biggest adjustment has been sharing the house with family members who've moved in due to the lock down and my house has gone from 2 people to 4. So now we have 2 working from home, 1 working dayshift in construction (meaning early starts) and 1 as a first responder on shift. Learning to communicate with a busy household is challenging the family relationships, particularly with extra noise. Fortunately, South Australian laws are less restrictive with venturing outside compared to other states, so this has allowed some scheduled quiet time during the day to get work done.
One final thought, I am fortunate I don't have young children in the house. The next-door neighbour has young children and based on the volume of the screams inside my house, I can only imagine how it would be inside theirs...
Over the past few weeks, I have been able to conduct approx. 30-35 hours of Teams meeting audits. The adjustment I made was to balance these out by conducting at least one a day to assist with regular contact with different people and break up a normalised routine. What I have learnt from this process is the feedback received from the people being audited and their appreciation of being able to have an outlet and general discussion also.
I guess there has been no real change to my working arrangements as working from home is the ‘norm’ for me when I am not required to be onsite or in the Brisbane office. An adjustment that I have made considering the current situation is to understand that working remotely is new for a lot of people and things might not happen as quickly as they previously did. Be patient with everyone, help wherever possible and be prepared to be flexible. The challenge to myself is to further refine my routine and working from home practices by setting goals and holding myself to account for deadlines.
Read Josh’s article on Asset Integrity: The Key to a Good Nights’ Sleep.
My biggest adjustment has been going from my "old normal" daily routine and structure to my "new normal" daily structure. I have found that keeping a consistent routine helps keep me on track and productive. Some of the things that have helped me adjust are:
- starting the day right (for me that's getting up at the same time, having a good breakfast and enjoying a tea/coffee before the workday begins)
- keeping my normal work hours (gained some family time without the commute every day)
- having a dedicated workspace and minimising distractions
- getting dressed in work wear (gets me mentally in "the zone")
- maintaining regular contact with team members and clients via phone or teams
- setting boundaries for the kids (they know Dad's at work when he's in the office with the door closed)
- interacting with the family when taking a break so the kids are less likely to interrupt my workday.
Like the others have touched on, for me it's definitely sticking to a routine. My normal working routine as a FIFO worker is doing 12-hours day in the Pilbara, so adjusting down to an 8-hour day where the couch and the fridge are only a few steps away has been challenging. On the flip slide, being home with my fiancée, who is also working from home, has been brilliant.
Our team utilises video conferencing, so we have a daily 15-minute prestart as we normally would on site. It's tempting to just dwell on the negative world events when we get the general comments section of the prestart, but finding positives to talk about has really lifted the mood.
So, celebrating the wins now, more than ever is required.
I've also cut my daily coffee intake by over half! Not intentionally either... just a good side effect of having more natural light and a good routine.
Read Keem’s article on the hidden value of good risk management.