jane kennelly

Kids, Distractions & People in the Middle

Posted by Jane
min read
Thiago Cerqueira Wr3 H Gvx Rsm Unsplash

​For school holidays, the option of a ‘staycation’ was the key choice for families as they navigated keeping kids amused alongside juggling flexible working routines.

During lockdown levels, we marvelled at the ability of many families to adapt and try new things. Walks, board games, Tic Tok, establishing vegetable patches, quiz time, strenuous exercising of the dog featured - and some ingenious art and craft creations made their way into ZOOM meetings across the business community.

Lockdown also produced some mighty fine efforts in the kitchen – so much so that, as we know, flour became the ‘new gold’ with four years supply being sold in 2 months! (And didn’t Jamie Oliver make cooking humble food from the fridge look so #easypeasy – and all the while his kids wandered through to get some attention.)

So back to these past school holidays, and knowing many were faced with entertaining an energetic audience, we decided to create a nifty little resource to help families fill in some time - Frog’s Distraction Holiday Cookbook!

The ‘tried n’ true’ culinary delights that came from the hearts and kitchens of our team, were collected to simply be helpful in assisting with ideas for yummy distractions for little people.

To date, over 1,020+ people have downloaded the cookbook – and it leads us to the crux of the topic which has become very evident while we have been researching trends impacting workplaces:


Q: How did companies positively respond to their employees during lockdown?

In our travels, we have heard numerous stories from both ends of the spectrum, about how companies responded to their people during COVID.

Only focussing on the positive end of the scale, we’ve been told:

  • A virtual team of 20 set up to call the 5,000 people in their care, once a week, every week.

  • Care packages – in all shapes and sizes, were sent to employees across NZ.

  • New equipment was delivered to use at home and supplies.

  • EAP systems were set in place.

  • Access to online training was given to employees.

  • On-line programmes were provided to help keep positive mental health.

One organisation, that demonstrated they understood the pressure their people were under during Alert Levels 4 & 3 was The Skills Group. As explained by their Group HR Manager, Anna McNicholl, their CEO, Garry Fissenden put plans in place immediately regarding their team of 300, as Alerts were announced – and the pressure families were under was recognised as well.

Actions they took included:

  • A duvet day available for all employees if they just needed a break from work

  • Giving all staff an hour a day, to ‘learn something new’ – not work related

  • A reminder that no work emails be sent after work hours – their usual practise but reinforced over lockdown

  • Developed a kids programme that included:

  1. A kids Yammer page for all to use to post Kids doing Fun Stuff

  2. All kids who posted received a fun gift to keep them busy & give parents a break. Gift preference was NZ made products to support local businesses.

  3. A kid’s resilience on-line programme for different age groups - similar to the company’s Mind Dojo Resilience programme that is available to all staff.

As well, every staff member was personally called by the HR team, and the CEO send a twice weekly video update messages to everyone with some humour and fun too.

In talking with their employees, it is clear they were incredibly touched by these actions. And as one person put it; “We feel so proud to be part of this company. You should have seen the face of my child when the courier came with a parcel addressed to her!”

So, as we look to Victoria, Australia at the moment, and see the anguish they are experiencing, we wonder that, if we were faced with lockdown again, even at a regionalised level, have we become even better at owning the mantra of ‘people at the centre’?

For all contracting, temporary, remote or permanent staffing requirements, we are only a phone call away: 0800 GO FROG!