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Keeping our people safe while delivering essential services

21 Apr 2020

At State Trustees we now have 95% of our workforce working from home. Carla Khoo who works in our Client First team has written about her personal experience of how we moved to working from home.

Carla with her husband and 2 kidsI loved my work routine. The days started at 4.45am, with a 5.45am session at the gym, followed by breakfast and arriving at work around 8.30am. The workday would end about 5.30pm, and after a commute, I’d arrive home at 6.30pm (if the traffic was ok). That was Monday to Thursday, with Friday a work from home day so I could drop off and pick up the kids whilst my husband (the primary carer in our house) worked.

Well, that was before the pandemic anyway!

I remember hearing about ‘yet another’ virus and admit, I didn’t think much of it. “It’s just a flu! It’s actually not even as bad as the flu!” – yep… I said that… rather passionately too! For me, it really started when my son (a grade 1’er) was racially vilified at school by a couple of grade 3 boys. “Corona, Corona!” they called him. Thankfully, we don’t watch the news with our kids, so he had no idea what they were on about and thought they were just silly. The school acted swiftly (I love our school), but I was really shocked by it… what WAS the media saying?

So, I started to pay closer attention. Not to news found on commercial channels, but the World Health Organisation, the DHHS and other reputable services tracking the progress of the disease. It was getting worse… and it was spreading FAST. The last commuter train I caught, there were people coughing – and I was worried they had it and didn’t know… and terrified that I’d bring it home.

I realised, I needed to be proactive. In my team, I was one of the first to self-isolate because of the risks associated with COVID-19 – with my mother in law next door (85 years old) and my eldest child suffering Asthma. I was followed quickly by the rest of the team, and then all of State Trustees went into self-isolation to protect our people and ensure the continuity of the vital services we provide vulnerable Victorians. Over 95% of the organisation was working effectively and from home within 4 weeks. AMAZING.

A good example of how enabled I am to work at home was the recent Project kick off meeting for one of STL’s biggest transformation projects. With close to 30 people from 30 different locations, we actively engaged all participants in discussions on scope, stakeholders, risks, dependencies and even expectations. We did it 100% virtually – and even finished 2 minutes early! It was magic.

Upon reflection, it feels like a slow-but-entirely-sudden build to where we are now. I am still getting back into my routine, and I’m adoring the extra family time too. But I admit, some days are harder than others, however to echo so many across the globe at this time, I remain grateful for my family and friends, and my team mates, and for the support from STL to keep going. It’s wonderful to work for an organisation that not only has my back in the normality of my life, but also in some of the most unprecedented circumstances.

Good luck to everyone going through this nutso time – here’s to us all finding a little bit of awesome as we get into our new groove.


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