What are the positive things you want to retain after Covid-19 ?

4 months ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

I'm Lauren, an Engagement Manager at Bang the Table (Qld and WA). Welcome to our breakout forum discussion.  I put my hand up to facilitate this forum today, as I thought this was a really interesting topic. 

COVID-19 has rapidly changed the way we live, work, socialise and relax. Despite this rapid change, organisations and individuals have been very quick to adapt and adjust to our new reality. We all have things we miss from our pre-pandemic life that we anxiously wait to welcome back, but this forum seeks to explore what we've found

What positive change would you like to keep post-pandemic? 

Maybe it's a simple skill or hobby you've dedicated more time to, maybe it's a change to your working life, or perhaps it's a new way you've found to engage your community - large or small. Whatever it is, share it here and let's start looking for the silver lining. 

At 12pm we will encourage you to explore some of the other forums, and welcome new contributors to this topic. 

Some tips to get the chat going: 

  • Keep refreshing your page so you can see what others have contributed
  • If you see something interesting, let the author know!
  • If you have a question for another contributor, don't be shy.

This forum will be facilitated by Lauren Keating, Engagement Manager (Qld and WA)

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  • Barbara 4 months ago
    I've continued to come in to work (physically distancing in the workplace is completely possible due to that many who can are working from home), and have witnessed barriers to communication and connection very easily dropped. These barriers, being mind-made constructs, seem to have so quickly become unnecesary and unimportant. People are mindfully prioritising a true 'seeing' of the other which leads to a genuine interest and care irrespective of positions and hierarchy. I really hope this remains!
  • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
    Thanks for your input and ideas, it's been really constructive. Please now head back to the main forum to hear from our facilitator, Dan. I hope you found our discussion uplifting and inspiring.
  • Dale Sutton 4 months ago
    For me it is how we have been forced to embrace technology, and find ways for people to be able to work from home. I'm hoping that if nothing else, post-pandemic organisations will be more supportive of their staff WFH and that some of the technologies will remain in use. I certainly am already more skilled in video conferencing that I was a few weeks ago!
    Hide Replies (5)
    • Jan Logan BCC 4 months ago
      Yes I agree Dale. The trust issue of WFH will hopefully be eradicated and organisations can see through this experience, people are able to be productive working from home. I will be even MORE productive when things RTN and my kids are back at school!!!
      Hide Replies (3)
      • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
        Hi Dale and Jan, welcome. This has definitely been a common theme - this shift towards more flexible workplaces in the future. The rapid change means everyone has adapted quickly. Imagine what we can achieve over a longer timeframe (with kids in school!)?!

        Have you found your internet is up to the task of the extra traffic? Despite the hype of the NBN pressures my has been remarkably stable.
        Hide Replies (2)
        • Dale Sutton 4 months ago
          My NBN has been fine. If it can cope with my Netflix binge watching in the evenings, it can deal with my video conferences and emails during the day. ;-)
          Hide reply (1)
          • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
            Haha, Dale. Well said!
    • Jcaldwell 4 months ago
      Yes our Council has had to rapidly deploy cloud based systems to support us working from home. They were always scheduled to happen next year, but this disruption has rapidly rolled this out.
  • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
    Shortly I will pop together a summary of the key ideas and changes the group thought would be great to keep up post-pandemic. I've picked out a few key themes:
    Better flexibility in working from home
    Better sense of community
    More time to 'stop and smell the roses'
    More efficient work practices with online focus for internal and external comms

    Does anyone have more to add to those key ideas?
    Hide reply (1)
    • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
      And apologies for some clunky formatting in that last comment. It seems my fingers can't keep up with my ideas!
  • Uthpala 4 months ago
    Hi Lauren, working out of my garden is definitely a very pleasant experience I'd like to retain as much as possible in the future.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
      Hi Uthpala, your home office set up sounds delightful. Given gardening and spending time in nature seems to be widely reported as excellent stress relief, I think you have a great case to take to your HR team to have regular 'garden office' days in the future.
    • Ant 4 months ago
      What are you growing Uthpala? We just planted some Perino Tomatoes that have just sprouted! And we have mint and parsley. Pretty boring salad :)
  • Jo 4 months ago
    Distance is no longer a barrier so it's been great to connect with people quickly without needing to travel.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
      Hi Jo, welcome. I also really like connecting with people during this time and the instantaneous nature of communicating online is a great time saver. Do you usually commute far to work?
      Hide Replies (2)
      • Jo 4 months ago
        No- but I travel a lot ot see clients so it's been a big lifestyle change to communicate from home. It's opened up more regional clients too.
        Hide reply (1)
        • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
          That's an excellent point Jo. I feel positive that regional communities have benefited from better communication as we are forced to think beyond geographic convenience.
  • Nathaniel 4 months ago
    Work wise, I think forcing the online lodgement of development applications (given customer service offices closed) would be a benefit to our planners and eventually customers (once they are used to it).
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Audrey 4 months ago
      Are you using EHQ to lodge them? And how are you managing the hearing process?
      Hide Replies (2)
      • Nathaniel 4 months ago
        Not using EHQ for lodgement. They will still be holding development meetings via web conference but I haven't had specific feedback about how that is working.
        Hide reply (1)
        • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
          There is definitely scope to lodge DAs via eHQ, and we do have quite a few clients using the platform this way. I will be happy to point you in the direction of some examples if you're interested in bringing about some internal change on your DA processes.
  • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
    Welcome new participants who are visiting from other rooms. We've had a nice discussion so far about some of the benefits the pandemic change has brought about.
    If you started in this room, now is a great time to explore the other breakout chats.
  • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
    Since the restrictions began, I've found I've been prioritising phone calls over emails at work. I've enjoyed connecting on the phone and sharing my experiences with colleagues and clients, and I hope to keep fostering this bond post pandemic. Does anyone else have a new found appreciation for the humble phone call?
    Hide Replies (6)
    • Cecilia Burke 4 months ago
      sort of - my organisation is geographically dispersed but the lockdown has meant more staff have come to appreciate the eccentricities of skype! :)
      Hide Replies (5)
      • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
        Online video conferencing tools do have some quirks. Do you think your organisation will rely more on online tools after we return to normal? Did you have much uptake in this area previously?
        Hide Replies (4)
        • Cecilia Burke 4 months ago
          very little uptake - really hope this will increase when we Return To Normal (RTN?) :)
          Hide Replies (3)
          • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
            Love the acronym RTN. Like Isolation, Distancing and all the other lingo we have picked up, RTN might just stick.
            Hide Replies (2)
            • Arif Khan 4 months ago
              I don't think there will be an RTN after this - I suspect things will never be the same again after all this is over. I wonder whether more employers will look at the flexibility of WFH in greater detail where possible.
              Hide reply (1)
              • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
                I also think there will be an ongoing fundamental shift now in the way we work. Similar to the social shift in the post war years when women started appearing more in the workplace following their efforts during the war. This time, it'll be a shift towards more flexible working. ( I hope!)
  • Nathaniel 4 months ago
    Hi Lauren, I'm Nathaniel from Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (NSW). I am actually really enjoying working from home. Some days I am a lot more productive than at work and I like being able to step out of the office (bedroom) and see my kids. It will be hard to go back to work in the office. Although probably easier once the kids are back at school.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Arif Khan 4 months ago
      Totally agree. I'm saving 2 hours of travelling time each day and LOVE not being exhausted, or needing time to wind up/down on top of all that. Stepping out of the office into my own house is just the best!
    • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
      Hi Nathaniel, I agree. It's really nice having easier access to your home life, even if that does mean the occasional kid related chaos mid video call. Do you think your workplace will encourage more flexible work practices in the future?
      Hide reply (1)
      • Nathaniel 4 months ago
        Hopefully! Already some of my colleagues worked from home a couple of days a week, but I was always the one who was in the office everyday. I think from a productivity and social perspective for other teams it will be important to have at least one or two of us in the office each day, so will have to see how it pans out.
  • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
    I live in Brisbane and am really lucky that I'm a nice little pocket with a good sense of community. We have been trading all sort of goodies with the neighbours (at a safe distance of course) and when this is all over I hope we continue to swap backyard fruit and vegies with each other and keep it local.
    Hide Replies (5)
    • Arif Khan 4 months ago
      We're not quite at the point of swapping veggies, but I have never seen so many people walking their dogs in the arvos!! And we're about to start growing our own fruit and veggies soon too.
      Hide Replies (3)
      • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
        I don't know if anyone else thinks this, but I suspect more people are exercising (and walking the dog) now since it's a legitimate and legal reason to leave the house. So that's got to be a good thing to keep up.
        Hide Replies (2)
        • Cecilia Burke 4 months ago
          I've noticed more families out walking together with young kids in strollers etc that I've not seen them do before, so that's great!
          Hide reply (1)
          • Arif Khan 4 months ago
            Isn't that such a nice thing. :) Same in my neighbourhood - i live opposite a park and everyone does loops of it so you bump into folks all the time.
    • Cecilia Burke 4 months ago
      love that idea of swapping things with neighbours lauren - I'm having drinks on our (respective) front lawns with my neighbours at Easter
  • Cecilia Burke 4 months ago
    I'm heading to another forum now guys, thanks for the chat!
  • Admin Commented Dan Popping - facilitator 4 months ago
    Lauren, my kids dusted off their push bikes and went for a ride together. It was so good to see them outside and off their digital devices. As a family we will be doing more bike riding in the future.
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Nathaniel 4 months ago
      We have a track across the road of our house and have been walking it pretty much everyday. Mountains in the background with great sunsets after work/dinner. It is a shame daylight savings ended and it's getting a bit cold and dark here in Canberra.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Cecilia Burke 4 months ago
        We bought a portable fire pit for the backyard nathaniel so are now collecting kindling on our regular walks on the hill behind our house
  • Cecilia Burke 4 months ago
    Hi Lauren, I'm gaining time in my busy day since I don't have to commute! so family dinners are earlier, easy to get kids to bed on time etc. Also love having the ability to pop out into the sunshine throughout my day (in the backyard), and do a quick meditation.
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Audrey 4 months ago
      Hi Cecilia, are you going to continue to do quick meditations when you return to the office post covid? Or look to work from home more often, so you can retain some work-life balance?
      Hide reply (1)
      • Cecilia Burke 4 months ago
        hi Audrey, yes was already scheduling 5-min meditations at lunchtime when I was working from the office - but WFH with kids has meant I have to be more flexible with when/where I fit it in my work day!
    • Lauren Keating 4 months ago
      Hi Cecilia, thanks for joining the chat. I admire that you can fit meditation into your day. I wish I had that level of zen! One of the challenges I find with working from home is that you never escape the chores. But I agree, getting sunshine in the middle of the day, and having no commute are definitely changes worth celebrating.