Lessons From COVID19 – The Year of the Virus, The Unseen, The Anguish, Despair, Frustration and New Beginnings.

Like all, I suffered this year. I expected great things from 2020, but Mike Tyson was right when he said everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.

But, just like the word Crisis is depicted in Mandarin as both crisis and opportunity, 2020 offered both.

When the year started I was excited about 2020’s prospects, very busy and bookings were increasing. I facilitated Organizational Ethics training for a client focusing on the use of a Code of Conduct, then completed a Conflict of Interest Training project for an International Mining Group, where I trained more than 700 managers in understanding the basics and nuances of conflict of interest – as part of their Business Integrity and Ethics initiatives. (A clearly misunderstood subject if you study Media Headlines).

I also wrote and developed a Fall Risk Management program for a Health & Safety client and developed and wrote a Remote Worker Safety and Security 18 – page Guide.

The year ahead looked promising.

On the 12th March  I had 12 booked days for facilitating a variety of interventions. Then Covid19 came,  the Disaster Management Act kicked in and I had nothing.

No work. No meetings, no events allowed. No income. Denada.

FRUSTRATION could not even fathom the mixed feelings. As a consultant, stand-up trainer and facilitator, all live face to face sessions came to an abrupt halt.

In the case of my grand kiddies, they took to online learning in next to no time, my son in law gravitated from the office to home and is now more productive than ever using technology like Ms Teams.

Few clients could make the switch to online learning, so it was back to the drawing board for me. I had to gravitate to using online technologies like Ms Teams, discover new ways of facilitation and knowledge sharing.

The reflection and introspection have proved its worth. I realised that starting up my practice coming out of lockdown was like starting a new venture and having only one income stream was dangerous.

I rewrote my marketing plan (learn how) and have now adopted a strategy that no one knows what it is I do. And why not? Clients have retired, many have moved on. New stakeholders have come into power.

I also studied case study upon Covid19 articles and case studies and created my own WFH/Remote working checklist totalling pages and pages of work – tips and hacks in Trello. I learnt a lot about pandemics which have added to my crisis management skillset.

I learnt about how the art and science of communication became even more important during a pandemic. Why clients needed to inform their own stakeholders and not just leave it to the media and government to communicate information.

I discovered many tips and hacks to improve my own remote working productivity, this after working from a home office for 24 years.

One of the best tips I heard was watching the Steve Dotto show where someone shared this – “When you take your work home, you are entering your family’s space. Their rules, not yours”. The more I thought about it – the more it made sense.

A Home is a place where you can scratch anywhere you itch. It’s a place of safety and security. A place for families.

Lesson – Work has to fit in, not home has to fit in.

My use of Social Media has been refined, and I spent a lot of time immersing myself in new technologies. So, it has not been all gloom.

Staying safe and secure – both physical and mental has been a challenge, but even here lessons were learnt.

I started taking Vitamin D long before it became in vogue, had a spat with Dr Chris Masterjohn over its use and were vindicated by research later. My Health & Safety experience together with my interest in alternative medicine helped me to stay healthy and safe, and I could contribute my knowledge of glutathione, the master oxidant with Will Brink, the US Defence military researcher.

I learnt new terminology like hybrid events, learnt to embrace uncertainty even more and felt gratitude that I am not a politician. (Hybrid events are the perfect bridge between live and online gatherings. They are events such as conferences, seminars, trade shows, workshops or meetings that combine live, in-person events with virtual online components. Many event organisers and companies have said that even with the re-opening of the event industry, they still won’t do away with their online spaces, making strictly live gatherings a thing of the past and hybrid events the new way forward).

I came to see differing standards on the use of PPE and protocols, and finally chuckled about handwashing.

After teaching the value of handwashing for 23 years in OHASA workshops, now finally management got the idea and were first in the queue for sanitisation.

Management have totally come to realise the danger of biological risks. In many ways the listeria scandal was a just a warning of worse to come.

Interesting Times after all! Finally, Management now understands the valuable role that Health & Safety plays in the management of organisations.