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Life under Lockdown: Jefa Greenaway

Jefa Greenaway, founder of Greenaway Architects, discusses the changes to the workplace that the lockdown has caused, including some of the positives.

Life under Lockdown: Jefa Greenaway

“We transitioned quite early, having sent staff home to operate remotely about four weeks ago,” says Jefa Greenaway, lecturer, designer, architect and founder of Greenaway Architects.

“The advantage of having a trained virologist within our broader team,” he notes

“We in essence activated a business continuity plans which we had been discussing internally for some time knowing the likely trajectory of what was coming. With a number of interstate projects, we were already quite familiar with video conferencing which has naturally become the new normal. I find that we are indeed checking in more frequently to maintain productivity levels, keep everyone busy and knowing what is needed to be done and to ensure staff wellbeing and connectivity is maintained.”

As to how he is finding the new work paradigm, Greenaway says, “The early years of our practice, more than two decades ago now, we spent a number of years operating in a home office setup. These new arrangements are like going back to our roots and going back to basics but with an understanding of way one needs to work when disconnected from a more formal office situation.”

“We brought home and distributed computers to staff, so we are all readily setup to continue working. The biggest challenge is juggling kids at home, the distractions of the coffee machine/fridge which requires a more determined focus.”

“Along with clear goal setting and discipline we continue to meet the new ways of work. I’m finding the need to speak to friends and colleagues more often, beyond Zoom, using the old school phone as an important link beyond home,” Greenaway says.

In terms of what are some positive results of this lockdown working arrangement, Greenaway points out that, “The biggest positive is the unifying effect of the team coming together, checking in on each other and the understanding that we’re all in this together. In addition, the value of humour and the lighter moments of 30 people dialling in each with their own backdrops showcasing people’s personalities.”

“I feel out of this global catastrophe that we may see a reset, an understanding that together we’re stronger and that the simple things in life – health, family, food and resilience are really important. I wouldn’t be surprised if many seek more flexible work arrangement when we get to the other side, as the industry recalibrates to a post-Covid19 environment,” he says.

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