Lisa Chambers, her fiancé Ben, who manages YHA Wanaka, and Boris at their Luggate home
As the country moves into a four-week lockdown in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19, the Ticker’s Lowdown on the Lockdown brings you a daily take from a tourism professional exploring new ways of working, sharing what life now looks like for them and just how much the pandemic has changed what they do.
Lisa Chambers, business manager, South Island, Mount Cook Ski Planes & Helicopters by INFLITE.
How has the current Covid-19 situation been for you? What kind of impact has it had on the workplace?
As it has for many, if not all, the last few weeks were crazy, things changing on a daily basis. Now we are in lockdown the outcome has obviously had a profound affect on the business as we can’t fly or do our usual daily business of making dreams come true. However we are used to working remotely as we have businesses all over New Zealand and for me specifically the South Island, so this part we are used to. We have always regularly had meetings over Teams, conference calls on mobiles, Messenger, emails – it’s part of our daily lives.
The biggest impact for us in management was to witness the resilience of our team and the belief they have in us, both as individuals and as a business to get through this. Each and every team member has pledged to help as and where they can. This alone made the whole process so much easier, as well as incredibly moving. We will strive to get through this and be better for it on the other side – for them; they are invested, we have our focus. On top of this, many of us in management have been with INFLITE for multiple years and treat the business like it’s our own, which really helps at times like this.
What were your initial thoughts or feelings heading into the lockdown?
We are entering week 2 of the ‘official lockdown’ – although many have been in isolation for a little longer for an array of reasons. We are trying to look at this lockdown positively – focus on the projects we’ve always wanted to get done, take the chance to analyse the business, and work on opportunities. It’s also a great time to review how we have operated and then work on how we will operate when we open again and restrictions are lifted. We are a very adaptable business so this lockdown period will give us time to nurture, change and adapt. In some ways it can be viewed as a gift, which is not to say it will be a bed of roses – it will come with many different issues and problems, we just need to be as proactive as possible and address issues as they come along.
What is your home situation like? What kind of set up have you got to continue working?
I’ve hunkered down with my fiancé and a lovely French couple that needed a place to stay during lockdown. I had a study nook set up as I work from home regularly, only now there are a few more distractions to contend with, including Boris our black Lab who wants to walk, play and have cuddles all the time, that’s hard to resist.
What kind of communication are you having with your team?
It’s standard practice for us to have meetings, training sessions online and we have chat groups on Messenger so there is quite a bit of regular interaction, but it’s times like these when we really step up our communication. This includes a staff update every couple of days to let the team know what we are working on, and reassure them about the future. Due to the location of some of our businesses, many of the staff are used to being in isolated parts of the country so checking in on them and staying in touch to ensure they are doing okay is just part of everyday life for us. Staff welfare is really important – we are not only a team, but a family. We have all kinds of fun challenges we set for each other, which means we connect every day to see how each of us are doing.
What are you expecting your main challenges to be while working from home?
Actually achieving all we want to. We have lots of ideas we want to achieve and make happen during lockdown, and now we need to action them. That and I’m usually quite hands-on so I’m adjusting a little to being fully digital and only seeing faces on screens rather than working physically alongside them.
Have you got a daily routine set up, any daily exercise or activity goals?
Absolutely, I exercise every day. There’s a great bike ride straight out my backdoor and this also doubles up for a walking track. Plus I have a small home gym so I put one or both in my diary to do each day, it helps keep me focused on the positives.
What are the main things you think you might enjoy about working from home?
As I travel with my job so much, I am loving the fact that I don’t need to touch my car for this period. I’ll be ready to hit the road once restrictions are lifted, but to be able to enjoy my beautiful home on a daily basis, spend every day with my fiancé, Boris our dog and Ted our cat is a real treat.
If you’d like to contribute to our Lowdown on the Lockdown series, contact the Ticker’s Shannon Williams at email@example.com.