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December 16, 2020

Life and work lessons from lockdown

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In a year of lockdowns, curfews, and elections, it’s fair to say that 2020 has been a difficult and divisive year. But we’ve ridden the waves together (albeit in varying different boats), and now is the time to reflect and share the valuable learnings we’ve picked up along the way.

From working from home hacks to personal revelations and professional realizations, we asked employees from around the world to share their life lessons from lockdown with you. Their answers are now in, which means it’s time for you to grab a glass of eggnog, sit back and relax while reading the important lessons fellow workers will be taking into 2021.

This year, I’ve learned…


Alana Martin (she/her) | Sr. Manager, HR Business Partner, TE Connectivity: "Be grateful for all things, big and especially the small."


Rachelle Hansen | Director – HRBP Global Sales, Poly: "My new working from home approach blends my personal and my professional life more now than ever. That means being nimble and flexible throughout my day while balancing work with common core 1st-grade math."


Nicole Tomlinson | HR Manager, Vaultex: “I’m fortunate to work for a company that really care!”


Simon Eid | Group Vice President, Australia and New Zealand, Splunk: "The sense of ‘team’ is enhanced by a shared experience."


Simon Collins | Head of HR Operations, Northern Trains: "We mostly learnt about the fears and concerns of our colleagues. On the positive, more than ever we’ve spoken with people, more than we’ve ever done before, with teams, with zoom, and we are more engaged with our colleagues and our team."

Aisling McWeeney | Inhouse Recruiter, NortonLifeLock: "I am even more invested in my work since working from home."


Naomi Townsend | Supervisor – Logistics Mechanised Production, Aurizon: "Working from home does not impact quality of work."

Janice Hawkins | Resourcing Manager, Transport for Greater Manchester: “I can work differently and still make things happen!”


Ingrid Vio | Commercial Communications Coordinator, Toyota Motor Corporation Australia: "The power of routine – fresh air, coffee and a furry friend will start your day right!"


Nina Sjolund | Learning and Development Manager, ViacomCBS & Laura Pye | VP of Creative and Production, ViacomCBS: "Creating, collaborating, and supporting each other is the true purpose of your network. Never has this been more important than now."


Georgina Ashford | Marketing Coordinator, WORK180:

Use every experience as motivation to achieve your goals, be it a positive or negative experience. Don’t let anything get in your way, espcially your own self doubt or fear.

Still struggling with the sudden transition of working from home?

Don’t worry, WORK180’s Georgina Ashford shares the simple steps to success in her recent article on how to make ‘working from home’ work for you. Read it here.


Claire Mahoney |HR Business Partner, Southeastern Railway: "Learning very quickly the real meaning of multi-tasking…"

Sharini Daniel | Finance Manager, Rheinmetall Defence Australia: “Everyone has a part to play to make things happen!”


Anna Sarelas | Employee Relations and Remuneration Manager, TransGrid: "How resilient kids are, and that we’re all in it together."


Kirsten Howes | HR Business Partner, Southeastern Railway:

The thing that stands out is that the people I work with are more understanding and empathetic towards the challenges of being a working mum than I knew. What was not acceptable one week (kids fighting and screaming in the background) was not only acceptable the following week, but people showed kindness and sympathy. Also, a headset is the must have accessory for anyone juggling working and parenting!


Natalia Rozycki | TAC, NAB: "You can manage your time effectively both from home and the office."


Jen Lau | Project Planner, Ericsson: “Active empathy and kindness helps to reduce feelings of loneliness.”

Victoria Lau | Data Specialist, Site Operations Centre, Oz Minerals: “The importance of family and friends, how to work from home, and Melbourne’s resilience.”


Kate Hillman | Australia People Partner and Partner – People Advisory Services, EY: "Transparent and consistent communication helps EY people feel secure and informed."


Jennifer Tarr | General Manager, Stanwell: "During COVID our team had a daily social chat time and I loved it because I got to know everyone a little bit better."

Watch Jennifer’s video describing her lesson from lockdown.


Rebecca King | Planning Engineer, Melbourne Water: "COVID may have brought about devastation to the world’s health, but it has brought about positive change in the way we work and balance in our lives."


Valeria Ignatieva | Co-Founder and CEO, WORK180:

This year, Gemma (my fellow CEO) and I introduced a nine-day fortnight at WORK180. While our team was already fully flexible — working whenever and wherever works for them — we wanted to ensure everyone had the time they needed to cope with the potential increase in domestic and mental pressures caused by the pandemic. We’ve received great feedback and productivity is unimpacted, which is a great ‘silver lining’ from COVID-19 for us. My advice for other employers would be to extend trust to employees from day one.

Share your experiences with like-minded women all year round

From our active Facebook community for professional women to our LinkedIn and Instagram, there are lots of ways to join other professional women cheering each other on throughout the year. And you can find all their inspiring insights and stories in your inbox each month — just sign up for our free Women at Work newsletter.

WORK180 also offers a free newsletter for HR professionals! Each month, subscribers receive the latest diversity and inclusion news, updates, and inspiring stories from both employers and job seekers alike. To receive yours, sign up today.

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About the Author
WORK180 promotes organizational standards that raise the bar for women in the workplace. We only endorse employers that are committed to making real progress so that all women can expect better.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.