2020 has been an unusual year. Now that we’re slowly emerging from our COVID mandated self-isolation, we are hearing some interesting tales that illustrate just how differently this period played out for each of us.
For Brunel’s Australasian team, maintaining productivity and collaborating while working from home was a tremendous and, in some ways, unexpected success which is sure to inform and influence how we manage workplaces in the future. This said, the closure of schools meant that juggling work and family was a lot more difficult for some than it was others.
Finding ways to occupy and fend off the distractions of school-aged children, was a big challenge for some members of our team, but fortunately help was at hand from an unlikely place – Brunel’s Australasian Executive Director Tania Sinibaldi.
Swooping to the rescue like a virtual Mary Poppins of sorts, Tania took to assigning homework tasks for several team members’ youngsters. And it was no one-size-fits-all colouring competition; the homework tasks being doled out ranged from conducting interviews and filming news reports, to creating presentations and carrying out science experiments. She was even able to connect some of the curious kids with site-based Brunel staff, to give them some real-world perspective.
Budding six-year-old engineer Kate and several of her classmates took their own personalised live streaming tour of a Sydney-based ChlorAlkali operation, while aspiring geologist Ada (11) got the chance to pick the brains of workers at a New South Wales open-cut coal mine to inform her report on the mining industry.
Keeping the action a little closer to home, sisters Summer (4) and Indy (6) ran a Brunel News Desk – recording news updates, developing illustrations and creating their very own Brunel uniforms.
“I found having this opportunity to interact with the kids and see their enthusiasm really energising,” Tania said.
“In much the same way that you’ll often ask someone with a fresh set of eyes to look over a document you’ve spent a long time working on, children have this amazing ability to see and feel different dimensions in things that we take for granted.
“It was refreshing to stop and reconsider some of the day-to-day parts of our work that are actually pretty exciting, when you look at them from a child’s perspective. Interestingly, I think the challenge of explaining helped the parents involved to connect a little deeper with the why and purpose of their day-to-day activities at work.
"Hopefully along the way we’ve also opened up their minds to some of the different industries, paths and opportunities that will one day be available to them … and maybe sown the seeds for the next generation of Brunellers too.”
“It was really great to be able to show my daughter some of the opportunities that exist, or could exist, for females in the mining space now and into the future. I think that getting them interested and thinking openly about those of things at an early age is impactful and it makes me feel proud to be working for a company like Brunel that is making that possible."- Mike Duncan (Father of Ada, 11)
"The video tour of the ChlorAlkali plant really captured Kate’s imagination – so much that afterwards we bought a chemistry set so we could continue exploring the idea. Apparently, girls in particular learn from lived experiences, so expanding Kate’s view of what girls can achieve and accomplish now will hopefully expand the opportunities she sees for her own future!"- Geraldine Lankester (Mother of Kate, 6)