Working from home: Kathryn van der Merwe
ANZ Group Executive Talent & Culture Kathryn van der Merwe in her home office
COVID-19 has meant people around the world have endured a long year coping with different levels of restrictions to combat the pandemic. Metropolitan Melbourne, where ANZ is headquartered, has faced two lockdowns. This included ANZ Group Executive Talent & Culture Kathryn van der Merwe who – like almost all ANZ staff in Melbourne – has been working from home since March.
In this new series, we step into the homes and offices of the bank’s executives to learn more about the person behind the desk. Kathryn opens up about life at home and sharing space with some new co-workers.
Just in time
My husband is quite handy and had the inspired idea of building a desk along the wall in our lounge room. Back in February I questioned whether anyone would use it!? Little did we know what was around the corner and I’m extremely grateful he pushed ahead. Although you can’t see in this picture, one of my true joys of working from home is being bare foot or in slippers during those chilly winter mornings.
Connecting to nature
I have filled my space with things to lift my spirits. We bought this picture of a quirky cockatoo from a local school art exhibition and it makes me smile every day. I find being in nature re-charging, so while access to the outdoors is restricted in Melbourne, I’m treating myself to a $A10 bunch of flowers from the local fruit shop every week and often have a candle burning.
The beautiful sculpture was made by my husband and I am very fortunate to have my own private rotating exhibition of his work.
As you can see there is a little difference between my husband’s artistic talent and mine! Despite this, I made this basket when I visited Mallacoota last holidays before we moved back into lockdown and I love it. My mother-in-law inspired me to take up basket weaving which I have since discovered helps me relax and has become one of my favourite pastimes when I visit.
It is extra special though. I made it from a tree behind their house which had been burnt in the recent bushfires. As you can imagine, it was a pretty traumatic time for my family so it was inspiring to see so much new growth and regeneration on our recent visit.
My new work colleague Asher spends most of her day curled up on the couch next to me or at my feet. She provides a calming influence and encourages me to get away from my desk and outside for those lunchtime walks which really help break up the day.
The Last Post
I was born on ANZAC Day and spent many birthdays listening to my Dad play The Last Post. When he passed away on Remembrance Day a couple of years ago, I found this small card. Mum had transcribed the music for him to attach to the front of his cornet. This piece is so special to me on so many fronts.
Without a doubt my favourite thing about working from home is the visits I get from my family throughout the day. As a mum who returned to work when both of my children were really young, I am absolutely cherishing cuddles and chats with my family.
Although this time has certainly brought its fair share of challenges, it’s a gift to have this time with my teenagers who would ordinarily be busy with all of their activities and friends.
Kathryn van der Merwe is Group Executive Talent & Culture at ANZ
Working from home: Shayne Elliott