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Living in lockdown - NZILA

Posted 02 09 2021

in News

This boardwalk in Hobsonville Point is being well used during lockdown. Photo: Vicki Clague
This boardwalk in Hobsonville Point is being well used during lockdown. Photo: Vicki Clague

At a recent meeting of the NZILA Advocacy Panel, members had come to the afternoon zoom fresh from lunchtime walks or runs marvelling at how kiwis were flocking to their landscapes in the level 4 lockdown.

As member Jacky Bowring observed; “it just shows again the power of landscape.” Last week Canterbury saw some very warm days and she was seeing huge numbers of whole families out walking during level 4.

“A lot of the time you wouldn’t really see that .”

For John Potter it is the resurgence of ‘active transport.’ “All the kids on bicycles that you wouldn’t normally see - they’d normally be in cars.”

As Tony Milne added, '“even if the families are shouting at each other, they are doing it in the fresh air!”

Parts of the country will come out of level 4 overnight tonight with Auckland and Northland remaining as the battle continues to get the Delta outbreak under control. All going well Northland will move to level 3 overnight on Thursday.

Boffa Miskell’s John Potter says there isn’t a one size fits all approach to tackling the longer lockdown. “We’ve all been through this before and have hopefully learned any lessons from last time.”

He says there are some key issues for all of the profession to consider at this time.

  • Peoples health, safety and mental wellbeing are paramount. Companies may offer their own (through contracted 3rd parties) counselling and wellbeing support to staff, alternatively there are some great free apps available for people to use top help manage their wellbeing.
  • Keep in touch and connected with your colleagues, look out for each other, and be kind to each other.
  • As landscape architects we are passionate about what we do, and are doing our best to continuing to deliver for our clients and projects. We may need to ask of others (and exhibit ourselves) patience, flexibility and understanding around deadlines and delivery dates – a number of us may be working in challenging home environments with other requirements on our time (eg childcare ), or experiencing IT connectivity issues or other work from home challenges.
  • As employers, ask yourself what can we do to make working from home as easy as possible for our team? Once the COVID Alert Level allows us to access our workplaces again, is there any furniture, equipment or reference material we can courier/deliver to our team at home to assist their remote working in any way?
  • As employees, look after yourself at home:
  • Take breaks, get up and move around – many of us are spending long periods of time sitting at our desk or dining table – get up and stretch regularly; try some on-line yoga, personal training or a gym class!
  • Be aware of ‘Teams or Zoom Fatigue’ – we may be spending much of the day in video calls as we try to keep connected to each other. This can result in fatigue – this article contains advice on how to lesson the impact of this.
  • And lastly, let’s look at the positives – Level 4 lockdown provides us all with the perfect opportunity to practice empathy, compassion and understanding!

Christchurch-based Tony Milne of Rough and Milne agrees with John and says he is reinforcing to his teams that the most important thing is that they are looking after themselves.

“It may seem over the top, but I check in with them daily, as with all teams’ individuals react quite differently to others in times like this, so it is very important for me to target my support accordingly."

Tony says that like most LAs, his team is unprecedentedly busy. “Times like this reinforce the importance in good open communication with our clients and fellow consultants regarding timeframes/deadlines and the like.”

“We are very lucky that most of us can relatively seamlessly carry on from home, but at the same time not forgetting the specifics of our respective home environments and the limitations of these. We have a few of our team working early mornings and evenings as they handle young children at home – and demanding pets!”

Tony says most of their clients completely understand the restrictions and resulting delays but some LAs might face some pressure in that area.

*John Potter is the NZILA Registration Chair and wants to reassure all registration candidates that in light of the current restrictions the panel is reviewing options for registration interviews due to be held in November. These interviews typically take place in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, and alternative ways of facilitating these interviews are being investigated.