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The Lockdown Diaries by Otto van Zwietring

Q: How are you coping working remotely?

A: The first 2 weeks of lockdown was extremely frustrating and emotionally drenching due to the fact that I only joined NNAQS 3 days before the nationwide lockdown was announced. The sudden announcement of the lockdown prevented me from familiarizing myself with the companies’ organizational structure, the filing system, projects involved, templates, day to day operation of the Company etc., or even getting to know my colleagues on a personal note. But it is getting better though.

Q: How has the nationwide lockdown affected your productivity and accountability?

A: As mentioned above, I was only employed 3 days at NNAQS when our President announced the nationwide lockdown. Not being familiar with the project history, project team members and contractors I have tried my utmost best to “catch up” and to familiarize myself to the best of my ability.

Being a perfectionist by choice it was very hard for me to be in the dark and not in the comfort zone of asking a colleague or my superiors for guidance and assistance. Nevertheless, I am fully accountable and try to master the “working from home” thing, stay connected via the internet, teams meeting, uploading of internet data and sorting out the never ending IT issues remotely.

Q: Has it affected your goals?

A: As per norm, and being the new kid on the block, it will take some time to find my feet in a new company. Bearing this in mind as well as the ongoing lockdown this has set my goals a little bit on the back foot for now. My goals are that I would love to prove myself as a team player and become an important link in the chain at NNAQS.

Q: In your opinion, how has it affected the construction industry?

A: I am by no means an economist or a financial guru, but the construction industry is the heart beat of our struggling economy in South Africa. For some reason if the construction sector is doing well, the other sectors seems to be doing also fine. Unfortunately, with the current lockdown in place for more than a month and all construction activities being suspended this will definitely have a ripple effect on all of us being involved in the construction industry, whether you are the CEO of a construction company, a professional consultant, a supplier, owning a transportation business, part of the labour force or even the owner of a small informal food kiosk who rely on the construction industry to survive from day to day. This is going to hit us hard, and unfortunately the poorest of the poor will be affected the most.

Q: What are your thoughts for the future of this industry? How has lockdown changed the way forward?

A: The way forward ... It will definitely take some time to recover and of course the Covid 19 virus is still going to be with us for some time. But what I think the past month or so has taught us that every cloud has a silver lining. It is possible to work from home (though not always preferable), it is possible to still interact with clients and colleagues, it is possible to meet deadlines, it is possible to have teams meetings, Skype meetings etc. The 4th revolution is

closer than we think. It is now the time to gear up and adapt to the new world and its circumstances. The choice is yours.

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