Emma Ramsey
April 10, 2023
COVID-19, Culture

COVID Case Study With Orion

Whilst things are looking up as restrictions continue to ease, we know many of us are still sorting out ways to prioritise and sustain wellbeing and good mental health practices. Maintaining wellbeing, motivation and connection are key challenges businesses are facing and these will continue to be key in setting up success for 2022. As performance psychologist, Jodii Maguire says, we need to be treating stress, anxiety and depression as more significant than ever before, especially in workplace contexts through focusing on tools that allow us to manage wellbeing proactively.

To show you’re not alone, for the month of October, we’ll be asking our clients how they’ve been managing wellbeing through changing restrictions. We’re here to share how businesses are really responding and give you actionable advice on how to deal with the different challenges you’re facing. To kick of the month, we’re hearing from the Orlagh Byrum, Business Manager at Orion, and how she’s navigating the challenge of encouraging motivation, interaction and work-life balance.

How have you found lockdown?  

“Personally, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. One week you are nailing it and everything is falling into place, then the next week everything seems to crash around you as you lose the motivation to get through another repetitive week.”

How has the team found lockdown? 

“I feel as though a lot of our team have been in the same boat. You have good days, and you have bad days. Home-schooling being thrown into the mix has overstretched a lot of parents as they navigate the additional job. A few of our team live alone and I know this plays on their mental state.”

What have you done to keep yourself and the team motivated and engaged?  

“We have supercharged our interaction with the team. From a Director, GM, and Business Management Level we have been extremely active in ensuring we reach out to our teams and the greater team to give everyone a chance to speak up if they are struggling.

Twice a week we host personal training sessions at lunch time which have been extremely successful. For those who might not want to jump up and down in front of a camera, we also host Mindfulness Meditation sessions twice a week at 8am. We have an amazing psychologist who leads these 5-10 minute sessions. She provides us with tips on dealing with stress and being mindful and then leads us in a guided meditation. We host virtual trivia on Friday afternoons at 4.30. This gets a big turn out from across our Sydney and Wollongong Teams and we try to force the message that this is the time to put down your tools for the week. Sometimes the lines get blurred between work time and home time, especially when you are in the same room so this message is pushed quite a lot.

We changed the format of our monthly meetings to make them more interactive and enjoyable. We hosted a buddy day where we teamed each person up with another member of the team and they had to catch up for a virtual coffee. They then had to share a bit of information about their buddy in a group forum. I loved reading all the responses ?. We have announced that Sydney’s “Freedom Day” was a free day off for Orion staff. No one is to work (I am tempted to shut down the servers) and I will encourage everyone to share a photo of what they got up to with the team on the Tuesday.

All of these initiatives are there to promote interaction and to remind people that they are not alone in this.”

What has been the biggest challenge for managing your business through the pandemic? 

“Keeping the motivation in the teams. Sometimes it is hard always being the ones that have to prop people up and put on this enthusiastic face. You can see that people are just getting over it and the challenge here would be trying to keep the enthusiasm going and keep everyone on track for the end of this.”

A Human Agency’s Key Takeaways:

  1. Listen to lead. Sometimes the best thing to do is to step back, listen and start a dialogue. Reach out to your teams, start conversations and give everyone a chance to speak up if they’re struggling.
  2. Set clear boundaries and expectations for your employees. No one needs to be working at 9pm on a Friday night so make this clear to re-centre work-life balance. Doing this in a fun and inclusive way, through Friday trivia can boost interaction and wellbeing.
  3. Acknowledge the ebbs and flows. Some weeks will fall in to place and some won’t. You’re not always going to be able to be the one that can put on the enthusiasm and lead the motivation but remember you’re not alone. Shared leadership can allow you to take a step-in, step-out approach and help keep everyone on track through difficult times.

Want to know more about the challenges businesses are facing? Check out some of our other client’s COVID case studies here. 

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