Working environments, priorities, and workflow have changed significantly for many women during the past month. We spoke with women from Aviation Security, and the health and education sectors to learn about their challenges.

Courtney Stinson

Courtney Stinson is a Team Leader in the New Zealand Aviation Security Service at Christchurch International Airport, and a Southern Government Women’s Network Committee member.

What kind of changes have you have to make within your physical work environment during the lock down?

Obviously air travel has been hugely impacted by the Level 4 alert period, so the biggest difference for us has been a reduction in passengers. The whole management team is working from home which has taught us a new way of communicating and doing business, it has highlighted good and bad practices/processes.  We are looking forward to the day that people can return to the airport and use domestic travel!

How have you had to change your communication channels during the lock down?

With non-frontline staff working from home we have more fully embraced Skype, as well as a flexible working schedule to keep in touch with the team working at the frontline. We have been lucky to keep the challenges to a minimum, as the Team Leaders and Officers on the floor have adapted so positively to the change.

How have AVSEC staff been assisting with other duties in the community?

Our Staff have been deployed to help the NZ Police in high visibility reassurance patrols. The staff involved in this work are loving this work, and the exposure to another government agency. They value this opportunity to be out in the community, and have had several positive interactions with members of the public.

Tracy Roberts

Tracy Roberts is a PB4L School-Wide Practitioner in Canterbury. Her role involves supporting schools to implement a framework called Positive Behaviour for Learning School-Wide.

We run training days for schools, networking meetings and do individual school visits to work with staff to help them implement the PB4L-SW framework.

What kind of changes did you have to make within your physical work environment?

I have gone from a hot-desking situation where our desks include two screens, full size keyboard, mouse etc to working on my laptop at my kitchen table, which I am sharing with my nine year old.

What kind of communication challenges have you experienced during the lock down?

I work in a small team and we collaborate a lot. This collaboration would usually occur numerous times throughout the day – informally at our desks, at a standing meeting desk or on our morning walk to get a takeaway coffee (in a reusable cup of course!) Working from home has meant that this collaboration has had to be more deliberate via email, phone or online meetings, and without a proper coffee!!

A lot of our communication with schools occurs via email or phone and this hasn’t changed. Though we are very mindful of the big changes that schools are currently facing with distance learning so we have made sure schools know we are available as and when they need our support.

We are having to think differently about how we engage with schools with regards to our face to face meetings. We are looking to utilise Zoom for our training days and meetings so we can still share presentations and materials with meeting participants. 

What type of approaches have you used to balance work and family life?

Like many others, I am doing the working/’home-school’ juggle and I have discovered that preparation definitely pays off. We take time in the morning to set up for the day, we have set times for morning tea and lunch breaks (which usually occur around work meetings) and a set finish time, when I make sure I turn my computer off and leave my phone and we spend a couple of hours together.

We have had to have a few discussions around expected behaviours, especially with regards to things like appropriate behaviour when I’m in a Zoom meeting and I try to make sure I acknowledge and praise the appropriate behaviour when it does happen.

Wendy

Wendy is a Registered Nurse in an Emergency Department. Her role involves triage of patients, direct patient care, discharge planning, communication with patients and their families, and participation in education and personal study. Wendy is originally from Southland (where she also trained).

What kind of support at work have you found particularly useful during the COVID-19 situation? 

I have been involved in informal private Facebook groups which helps keep up morale, and keep me informed and supported by colleagues. I am also regularly updated by NZNO – New Zealand Nurses' Organisation with some information. 

What tools or strategies have you put in place to balance your work and home life? 

When I walk out the door to work, that is my focus. When I walk back in the door, home is my focus. I have enjoyed having all of the family at home and being involved in my kids’ school work. Keeping a regular routine is important and eating regular meals when I am home – not so easy while doing shift work.

Are there any challenges that have cropped up in COVID-19 lock down that were unexpected? 

Technology was very frustrating in getting the kids schooling up and running but think we finally have the hang of it now. Being able to get groceries has been a challenge as I am the only one leaving our bubble at any time and although I can assess risk at work and manage it, the supermarket is the great unknown. I have not used my staff ID to 'jump the queue' as I only work part time and I don't feel any more privileged than anyone else should.