Opening up to COVID normal
“It was a struggle to just not be and feel completely overwhelmed by the whole situation. So it was a day by day process and I think the biggest thing I took away from it was that every day is allowed to look different. No day needs to be the same. Just do what you have to do to get through it.” – Emily Wandel
Watch the video above to see the full conversation or click here to read the transcript.
2020 has been a rollercoaster - of challenges, opportunities, disappointments, surprises. And growth.
While Melbourne is easing restrictions and joining many other Australian cities in discovering their “COVID-normal”, other countries are going back into lockdown.
In the latest and final episode of the Wellbeing Conversation series, ANZ staff shared their insights, personal development and what they have learned from this year.
The Wellbeing Conversation series, hosted by Paralympian and ANZ Ambassador Dylan Alcott and mental health advocate, Brad McEwan, features unscripted conversations with ANZ leaders and external experts on a range of topics relating to wellbeing to help us navigate COVID-19 and beyond.
Full series available here
State Manager, Business Banking South Australia, Brendan Rinaldi, says we need to pay attention to what we can control.
“I think the key bit of advice is just to control what you can control and focus on that and spend less time worrying about what you can’t control,” he says. “These conversations [about our wellbeing] were important pre-COVID, they’re super important during COVID. And they're going to be really important post-COVID.”
Bringing ourselves and our vulnerabilities to work
Shifting from office life to work-from-home life was tough for many of us. But for Journey Expert Sarah Soncini returning to work from parental leave in the middle of a pandemic was very challenging.
“When I came back from parental leave, I was plodding away, pretending life was normal and expected to get the sort of same outcomes,” she says.
“But I wasn't and I would notice that I would burst into tears over the smallest things. I think in some ways I was lucky because, before the pandemic, I made the choice to, I guess, be vulnerable and start talking about my mental health condition openly at work in front of hundreds of people.
“Every day I can get up and be myself and not fear that I'm hiding part of myself. So anyone out there who's thinking, well, I don't know if I should share who I am. I think the day that you start to share who you truly are in any sort of vulnerabilities, the day that you get to truly be yourself and happy, it's like a weight gets lifted off you.”
Like Sarah, Regional Executive Kriston Schalken also made sure to share his experiences with his team. He found whenever the team shared their personal vulnerabilities, people would check in and make sure they were ok.
“People reached out and said: ‘Are you feeling okay, how are you dealing with it, anything I can do?’ It was just very, very warming. And I think that sort of authentic approach very much is what connects people.”
Agribusiness Manager Emily Wandel is used to seeing people face to face. She challenged herself to find other ways to show her customers, colleagues and friends she was thinking of them.
“It (COVID-19 restrictions) gave me that real opportunity to consider how are we going to bring our team and our clients together and make sure that everyone is doing ok and feeling ok because I think everybody deals with mental health and mental wellbeing in very different ways.”
Emily adds “for me, it wasn't a matter of making sure I was getting my exercise or not. It was keeping my mindset right and positive and I guess looking to the future rather than sort of getting stuck here in that moment.”
It wasn’t just connecting with customers and colleagues via phone and video meetings Emily has had to balance this year. She, like many parents working from home during the lockdown, found home-schooling and working at home with a toddler to be quite a trial.
“It was a struggle to just not be and feel completely overwhelmed by the whole situation. So it was a day by day process and I think the biggest thing I took away from it was that every day is allowed to look different. No day needs to be the same. Just do what you have to do to get through it.”
– Emily Wandel
Sarah, who came back to work from parental leave during the lockdown, agreed: “It's a bit difficult to explain to a one-year-old why yesterday you were walking in the kitchen, you're available, and then the next day when you walk into the office, you're no longer available to them.”
For Brendan, seeing glimpses of his colleagues’ home lives has been one of the positive aspects of working from home.
“It's great to see kids come in and Mum or Dad put them on their lap just for a few minutes while we're still talking. You can still pay them some attention or you can pick the dog up. And, you know, it does bring a smile to everyone's face and it might change the subject for a small second. And it does bring joy to people's lives.”
He adds “I think that's been such a silver lining in all this that we have been able to share more of ourselves and more of our families with our colleagues. Vulnerabilities connect us. And I think sharing more about us certainly does help that connection, which does build great teams and resilient teams and does help you get through times like this.”
Where to go for help
Please remember you are not alone. ANZ’s Employee Assistance Program is available for support services for ANZ employees and immediate family members. Please visit www.benestar.com or call 1300 360 364.
For ANZ employees outside of Australia in need of help or support please see ANZ’s intranet site Max for details of your local employee assistance program.
If you, or someone you know needs help or support, please go to BeyondBlue.org.au or call 1300 22 46 36. Beyond Blue has a range of resources to help support people’s mental wellbeing during COVID.
You can also contact Lifeline at LifeLine.org.au or call 13 11 14.
For information on other services that can assist with navigating difficult circumstances visit anz.com.au
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