“I can’t come now. I’m on [another] ZOOM call!”
South Africa recruiters share their recent experiences – can you relate?
RECRUITMENT CONSULTANT – Port Elizabeth & Surrounds
Kirsty-May Geyser gives her point of view
Walking a fine line between her work, studies and domestic duties.
“In the days leading up to the Covid-19 national lockdown, I felt an overwhelming feeling of panic and distraught. How will I separate my newly built home life, ongoing studies and a demanding virtual work schedule? How will I make sure that I don’t binge-watch all 10 seasons of Friends on Netflix again? Thirty-two days and 30 odd Zoom meetings later, I think it’s safe to say, I’m now only on Season 2.
Being a millennial myself, the challenge hasn’t been too much about working in a virtual space, but rather not to use this as a holiday and procrastinate while eating one bag of chips after another each day.
Balancing my daily tasks such as cleaning and feeding my other half, working my way around my new virtual work life and still being able to make time for myself to hopefully shed the lockdown kilos has been tough but has definitely been manageable. I found that working according to a set schedule and knowing when to switch on and when exactly to switch off has really helped me.
My new norm, a lot like my old norm, is simply getting up early, getting dressed, applying my make-up and starting my workday with a hot cup of tea. Although it has been tempting to watch a quick episode while working or check my emails while relaxing at 22h00, I can now say that I have mastered the art of balance.
The beauty of this lockdown is that it has taught us all that we don’t need office spaces and morning traffic to get the job done. We are now able to simply log in to work every day from the comfort of our own home while spending more time with our loved ones.”
RECRUITMENT CONSULTANT – Head Office (Port Elizabeth)
Monique Prince shares her challenges
A mother of two girls with a huge age gap (14 and 4 years old) and wife.
“Working from home combined with homeschooling, cooking, and continuously cleaning around the house has been crazy. As much as I enjoy working from home and having the opportunity to appreciate and value this time with my family, it has not been easy. Do not get me wrong, I love my children. They bring me such joy!
But being stuck at home 24/7 has taken its toll…I can’t even enjoy a good glass of wine after a day’s work as that’s also run out – so I have resorted to having a dance-off with my girls from time to time. My hubby, on the other hand, has been slouched on the couch watching re-runs of every series he can find on his hard drive.
The other real struggle was not having reliable Wi-Fi and having to rely on other resources in order to download school activities and get my work done.
One thing that I have learned from this time at home is not to take your job, true friends and family for granted. Appreciate what you have and strive for those that you do not have.”
BUSINESS OWNER, EXECUTIVE RECRUITER & EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
Jeannine Dickie defines her space
This helps find the right balance.
“As parents, we now have the responsibility of supporting and feeding seven people under one roof, because CoVid-19 levelled the playing fields for all of us; our adult children lost their jobs, their cottage and their income, forcing them to “move back home”. We physically rearranged living spaces to accommodate everyone.
For me, in particular, this meant moving my office and working art studio from the outside rooms into a bedroom and the dining room, respectively. Teenagers scattered as chores were allocated, because “someone” needs to do the laundry, and cook meals and go out to replenish the essentials whilst Mom works. My husband has been a wonderful domestic warrior in this regard – consider the troops rallied!
The focus shifted from enjoying the Wifi for YouTube and gaming to more serious work like attending online classes, tutorials and watching subject content video’s so that the children don’t fall behind in their Gr 11 and Gr 12 lessons, and me being able to run my business remotely.
My immediate action was to implement cash flow triage in my business. Secondly, I’ve had to learn to effectively manage the influx of webinar and virtual meeting invitations that have nearly melted my Inbox over the last 4 weeks, let alone grapple with the complexities of navigating TERS! It feels like “Death by Zoom” as I find myself trapped behind screens, in a Wi-Fi bubble managing data usage and connectivity with my staff who also work remotely.
On an emotional level, my third challenge is the continual (and discreet) assessment of the state of mental health and resilience of each family and staff member, and their ability to cope with this “status-abnormalis”.
On a positive note, the Lockdown has created time and space for me to work on my business rather than in my business. A change in leadership style, different modes of communication and adaptive business processes have been well-rewarded and refined. The chaos has certainly birthed its fair share of creative ideas and insights.
Co-Vid has also brought back “family time” to a large extent, leading to some interesting supper-time banter around home-brewed pineapple beer and horrible Zoom Memes. Not since 1976, when as small children we sat with our faces glued to the SABC TV1 Test pattern, have families been more interested in gathering around the TV waiting for our President to announce the gradual lifting of the hard lockdown restrictions!
I have realised the value of finding a small space in our busy home, where I can decompress. I am very cognizant that many can’t [or don’t] have this luxury. In my small garden studio, that was a dusty old cluttered shed until last Saturday, I can find silence, colour, therapy… and me.”
FREELANCE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT – East London & Border Kei Region
Samantha Long’s take on remote working
And on the importance of “being human”.
“Understanding Covi-19 has been the biggest challenge in how we grow and operate by placing good measures in place of health and safety, behaviours and work practices. This has been the norm of creating a positive mindset.
Working from home challenges have us understanding technology, self-education and adaption. Balancing our time has been a great aspect in finding enough time for projects, work, home, kids and everything else that pops up like homeschooling. Communication has been very practical, simple, and useful yet, has created tension for all environments showing determination to make a success.
We are in this together and it’s time to try new things and find new action plans. Scary yet exciting. Starting fresh and knowing what we need to face daily with new protocols, is key to all.
I agree with many people that life will not be the same. How we interact and conduct ourselves will be different – It’s business unusual going forward. A change is not a bad thing – it’s simply being human.”
FREELANCE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT – Gauteng & Western Cape Region
Through this we are all connected.
“It’s Day 30-odd of the South African response to the COVID-19 outbreak. l am tempted to say that working from home is a ‘dream come true’.
The ugly truth to this is that having already been a remote worker before the Lockdown, this feels different. There is a strange eerie-ness about it and has me feeling like there is so much to do, which there is, but I think the background panic of the reality of the world somehow kicks one’s anxiety into a see-through seat belt holding you back from actually getting through that growing to-do list.
Working from home pre-lockdown came with it’s own challenges, which I seemed to be able to manage. Many may be the challenges that most who are now forced to work from home may be feeling. Lockdown however, seems to have come with it’s own set of challenges, almost resetting my brain to figure out working-from-home from scratch. So I’ve been scrambling to figure out what’s different.
Firstly, the fact that there is a major pandemic happening right now. Which weighs on us about the stability of our future. Secondly, working-from-home pre-lockdown I was still able to get out and about, and see Clients and my peers face-to-face. Now … uhm, ehr … well, you know that feeling that came with the first two weeks of “ah, this feels like an extended long weekend”. Well that has totally dissipated. As has all (socially normal) human contact.
… But if I am honest with myself I think that the lack of my daily Seattle short butterscotch latte fix may be the problem and I am having withdrawal jitters.
On a more serious note, I think what working from home during lockdown has showed me is that “it’s okay to not be okay”, and that “Zoom (or Webex or Teams or Skype) Fatigue” is in fact a real thing. Even though your room is just around the corner from your laptop (if you’re not already working from bed), it is so important to take time out and reset. Sit outside in the sunshine and listen to the birds, or play with your pets. If you’re not that lucky, find a peaceful meditation app on your phone to download, or search for sounds that mimic your favourite outdoor space like the ocean or a park, and just close your eyes.
Set yourself time limits to the activities you need to do for work, creating a checklist as you go through them – and your reward a 5-10 minute time out in between. That way you can take on each task with a fresh approach. And through this all, just remember that you are not alone and that we are all connected and in this together.”