We have all had to adapt and change the way we live as a result of COVID-19, and every country has its own story to tell. Our New Zealand Portfolio Manager, Ryan Carter, says Stage 4 lockdown was quite an experience – one he won’t be forgetting any time soon!
Unlike Australia, where we can still stroll outdoors to get our morning caffeine in a take-away cup (leaving 1.5m between us and the next person desperately waiting for their hit), only essential services have been open in New Zealand since 21 March. However, with the recent change in alert level the opportunity for a caffeine hit is now becoming a reality!
During the Stage 4 lockdown, your average supermarket shop in Auckland was considered a half-day trip, taking between two and three hours, given a one-in-one-out policy. In the long queues that snaked around car parks, there was a strange silence as people waited patiently for their turn to enter, many citing they had never witnessed anything like it. Once you had accomplished your shop, you were required to bag items at your car, as there were no bags permitted at the cash registers. Not surprisingly, chest freezer sales skyrocketed by 90 percent.
Beyond that, working from home with three children aged nine, six and three, with playgrounds closed and outings forbidden, was the biggest challenge for Ryan. On top of that, you weren’t able to buy a desk, it was not considered ‘essential’, so that meant working from the kitchen table, or in bed.
Ryan says: “It’s made me realise that you can’t do it all, some things will slip but you just have to find a routine that works for you, there is no right or wrong for how you approach this time, however the newly purchased trampoline was our saviour!” (It was their last delivery before lockdown.)
Ryan believes that despite all the craziness – buying frenzies and sightings of people wearing bee keeping suits to supermarkets (an interesting report by the NZ Herald...) – there are positives to come out of this.
Ryan says: “The NZ team has had more face-to-face interactions (via Zoom of course!) with members of the wider business based in Australia than ever before, and we feel more connected than ever, which is a very positive outcome for us.”
He is also a new advocate for flexible working: “I never bought into the idea, but I see it’s possible, and there are advantages. I’m already thinking about how it will work into the future.”