Locked down but not out - Phil Murphy, Gallagher, NZ.

Gallagher sales manager – South Island, Phil Murphy, writes about the challenges and the teamwork taking place under New Zealand’s Stage 4 COVID-19 lockdown.

The Level 4 country-wide lockdown in New Zealand came as a big surprise – these are indeed surreal times and not to be taken lightly. Here in Christchurch, we have dealt with devastating earthquakes, the Port Hills fires, and 2019’s terrorist attack. Many of our channel partners (security integrators) here are used to working with sudden disruptions or unpredictable situations, and preparedness is part of day-to-day life.

Thankfully we had some time to prepare for the lockdown before it came into effect. Our channel partners were quickly able to change staffing requirements and identify key sites that would need support throughout this time, and then retreat to their homes where they can operate safely. There was no panic here in Christchurch, just a sense of ‘let’s get on with it’.

At Gallagher’s head office in Hamilton, our information services team faced a significant challenge – swiftly getting those staff who can work remotely set up and fully operational from home. No doubt it feels strange for our teams who are used to working together in the office every day and are now having to build new routines to balance work, home, and family time out of one location. Our sales team was already mobile and remote – we have feet on the ground across 4 of New Zealand’s major regions – so working from home isn’t much of a change for us. I already have a separate office at home and my family is used to me pacing the driveway while talking too loud on the phone.

Communication and adaptability have been key in managing these uncertain times. One of the first moves we made was to get in touch with our channel partners and assure them we are still here to support them, albeit from a distance. Parts of our business had to adapt quickly to support our channel and customers; we’re now offering online training, and virtual meetings for product demonstrations or problem solving.

Staying in touch with team members through regular virtual meetings and sharing funny posts has helped to keep up morale. I am starting to miss the coffee catch-ups (and it’s only been a week!) and the freedom to drive about, but we are resilient and will put the next few weeks to good use updating our planning and upskilling our staff and partners.

Kia kaha security people, stay safe and stay strong!

Phil Murphy, Gallagher NZ