Heidi Dias is the Executive of Marketing and Distribution at Constantia Insurance and is mentoring Lezahn Mohamed who works in Personal Lines Broker Sales & Service Support at Old Mutual Insure.
Heidi shares what will change for her as we enter a new era of working:
The enforced lockdown has shown that many businesses are able to still operate effectively with staff working remotely, with little to no impact on productivity. We can expect many businesses to continue to embrace remote working, as there are both time and cost saving benefits e.g. less time spent in traffic and potential to downscale the size of office space and associated rental costs.
Whilst technology such a Skype, Zoom and Teams is a wonderful enabler, it is important that we don’t forget the importance of in-person engagements as our industry is underpinned by collaboration and authentic communication. We need to be mindful of striking the right balance between technology and in-person engagement.
Lezahn shares how the “New Normal” has changed her working environment:
One of the first meetings I had with my mentor was about changing your attitude, to change your working environment and looking at things in a positive way. We also discussed balancing our work and personal life. Heidi has given me a few great pointers to help me with my physical, spiritual, and mental wellbeing. The pointers included mediating daily, eating healthier, practicing gratitude and some breathing exercises. When the President announced that we will be having a national lock down I was a mentally and emotionally prepared.
I really do enjoy working from home, I can only imagine how difficult it will be to adjust to our “Normal” working environment but I am excited about going back to work and just being able to learn new things and grow. The lockdown has helped me to find my feet, navigate my life, use my time productively to finish all my assignments and most importantly spend quality time with my family and friends. I certainly appreciate my job and the opportunities that I have.
How this pair is keeping motivated during the crisis:
Heidi: Staying motivated differs from person to person. For me, it is about understanding that now more so than ever, we have an opportunity to demonstrate the value and importance of insurance as a key pillar of our economy and to work closely with our insurance partners to co-create solutions and unlock shared value.
Ensuring a healthy work-life balance, eating right and staying active are also important components to stress management, enabling clarity of thought and helping one to stay motivated.
Lezahn: Heidi and I discussed identifying positive people in my life and the 4 thinking styles and this was one of my favourite topics because I had to identify and build relationships with people that have the 4c’s.
- 1C’s – Competence – people in your life that bring competence
- 2C’s – Care – some people in our lives that care for us for
- 3C’s – Character – people that practice what they preach and embody the deepest values and really move you
- 4C’s – Consistency – people that are always there for you everyday
Once I established who these people were and their roles, it motivated me to put in extra effort in building my relationships with them and having a close bond with them. Spending time with my son and helping him with his homework, reading to him and teaching him new things really kept me going.
The 4 thinking styles helped me make some personal decisions as well as assist me with the next step, I had to absorb my situation, reflect on past behaviour, analyse my decisions and execute my plan. I have also finally figured out how to combine my passion and my job and use both to pursue my career. This is exciting for me, so for the first time in a really long time I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me.
Barbara Mathibe is the Learning & Development Manager at Sasria SOC Ltd and is mentoring Lauren Visser a Reinsurance / Marketing Supervisor at HIC Underwriting Managers.
Barbara shares what will change for her as we enter a new era of working:
Remote working is here to stay. My role can be performed remotely. What is unclear is the effects thereof on one’s career with social connectedness either reduced/ removed. Effort to socially connect virtually could be improved on or perhaps occasional in person interactions with colleagues may fill the gap. Only time will tell. The change was initially difficult in terms of balancing my work and supervising my children’s school work when they were learning online only, that has however changed and is working well. I have found the change to have created an opportunity to use my time effectively and improved my quality of life in the process.
Lauren shares how the “New Normal” has changed her working environment:
I’ve always thought to myself that I would never have the discipline to be able to work from home. This would seem like a great opportunity to sleep (this is from someone who loves sleep) but the new normal has created so many wonderful ways in the way I get to work. This is less traffic which means less stress in the morning when switching your laptop on. This creates more valuable time with your loved ones and there are definitely less distractions during the day. The main thing that I take away from this is that the less stressed out that I am, the more I am able to work with a better mindset, less frustration from being stressed, able to tick off those tasks you always kept putting aside and I can be more involved with my colleagues work while supervising. Even though Covid has been stressful and it has affected everyone in its own way, my work was never affected and I was able to prove that working from home and this “new normal” was working just as well, maybe even better than before.
How this pair is keeping motivated during the crisis:
Barbara: I use various tactics to motivate myself, amongst them are: – daily gratitude prayers at night done together with my 11 year old daughter and 8 year old son as we reflect on the day’s events. It’s also an opportunity to get a glimpse of my kids’ day and see their world view. I get to chuckle at some of the things they mention, humour is always therapeutic as it makes one lighter. Motivation has also come from sharing moments with family and friends, these are my rock, second to the Creator! We share our experiences and get to be both comforters and be comforted. Being able to both give and receive just keeps me sane! My mentoring relationship with Lauren is just one such example of this reciprocal relationship.
Lauren: Being stuck at home has its pros and cons and there were many times where I wasn’t motivated at all but it was so important to have those friends and colleagues who would check up on you on a weekly basis and also making sure that you are getting fresh air and stretching your legs. We still have a job to do and a family to feed so being focused and staying motivated gets you through the day feeling a little bit better than just “I’ve got work to do so let me just get to it.” You should be ready to take the day on with positivity and motivation knowing that the work you do on a daily basis is just one step to a greater picture. I also, through my mentorship journey, have been able to see more of my potential in other areas of my life which has kept me motivated to unlock my true potential and do the good work I was set out to do in the long run. Those months of lockdown where you couldn’t leave your house has made me appreciate the things you didn’t get to do for those 4 or 5 months. Like sightseeing, going to a restaurant for breakfast or just taking a long walk with your loved one and enjoying the sunshine. This has made me more motivated to get out there and see the things you didn’t get to see before.
Sarah Moses is a Business Development Manager at Discovery Insure and is mentoring Phumi Nkosi a Risk Surveyor at Santam.
Sarah shares what will change for her as we enter a new era of working:
The ease of doing business. My role requires high level interactions, and this is something I thrive on. A rapid transition – I do believe more changes will occur, for now just take it as it comes.
Phumi shares how the “New Normal” has changed her working environment:
I have been very fortunate in the sense that my working environment has not drastically changed due to COVID19, as I am a risk surveyor, so my main objective is to visit different commercial premises. Pre-lockdown I would go into the office two to three times a week, as being a mother of a three-year-old, I find it difficult to always work from home. I enjoyed interacting with my colleagues whenever I was in the office, it made me feel not so alone, as my job can be rather isolating.
Since lockdown, I have not seen any of my colleagues and when I solemnly go into the office, I find myself being one of two people on the floor I operate on. I initially found myself having flashbacks of my childhood movie craze, in particular I envisioned Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, and all the mischief he got up to and the different fun ways he managed to entertain himself, as he was left home alone. It’s safe to say I quickly got those thoughts out my mind and turned my thoughts into ones of being more productive (as I now have no colleagues around to distract me).
When visiting my clients premises, I now experience a bit of a sombre atmosphere, as some companies got hit very hard financially by the effects of COVID and there still is a sense of fear and anticipation of the unknown in the atmosphere. It is on days like these, when I visit premises like these, that I have to find an extra dose of strength and positivity, as it is not easy emotionally to witness such distress and despair. As previously stated, my life personally has not been negatively affected by COVID, but it does not stop me from feeling the pain of those whose lives were negatively impacted.
How this pair is keeping motivated during the crisis:
Sarah: Mental, physical, and emotional adjustments have become a necessity in 2020. This unpredictable time has built resilience but has made me grateful for every day I have to be alive and productive. It is an easy place to become complacent, but I always go back to work ethic learned over the years. Commitment remains the same, life is always changing, and we need to be ready and willing to move with it. My motivation stems from the love I have for what I do, the amazing industry we get to serve, the reason we stay, the plans set out that must be accomplished. These are the reasons why I focus less on the crisis and more on what must be done.
Phumi: Some of the things I do to stay motivated during this time are prayer, exercise, reading positive/motivational texts and not listening to the news. I am Christian woman and am active in partaking in daily communion as a reminder of who Jesus is to me and what he has done in my life. It truly keeps me grounded and helps me focus on the beauty of this world, irrespective of any negative external occurrences. I enjoy exercising on a regular basis. It keeps me calm and allows me to release any unwanted baggage or energy. Exercise truly is a mental and spiritual stimulant. Reading motivational passages, is always good for the spirit, as it allows for your mind to focus on positive things rather than dwell on negative things. Lastly, I found that not listening to the news on a regular basis truly helps keep me centred and not feeling useless, for not being able to fix some of the unfortunate external issues of this world. If there is a certain issue I happen to come across that interests me I will explore it, other than that, I find it more peaceful not being constantly reminded of some of the negative things happening around us.
Overall, I believe this time has been one of self-reflection, growth and change. I am grateful that I have been able to find positives out of a negative situation and will continue to always focus on the good and on things I have direct control over.