What were the employee experiences during the Covid-19 epidemic in a New Zealand tertiary educational institute?

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Authors
Lockyer, Alan
George, S.
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Date
2022-12-08
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Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
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Auckland (N.Z.)
New Zealand
tertiary education
employees
online teaching
organisational change
workplaces
support
COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
well being
Citation
Lockyer, A. J., & George, S. (2022, December 8-9). What were the employee experiences during the Covid-19 epidemic in a New Zealand tertiary educational institute? [Paper presentation]. Rangahau: Te Mana o te Mahi Kotahitanga: Research: The Power of Collaboration, MIT-Unitec Research Symposium 2022, Te Pūkenga, New Zealand.
Abstract
The outbreak of Covid-19 was first reported in New Zealand (NZ) and most other countries during late February 2020. This resulted in immediate action being taken by the NZ Government involving a series of lockdowns and border closures. Educational institutions in NZ had to quickly adapt to changes in where and how staff worked due to the lockdown rules. This research was conducted after two years of NZ experiencing the initial Covid-19 epidemic. The research was conducted by interviewing employees, some whom were managers, from seven departments of a NZ educational institution. The data was collected using face to face semi-structured interviews. Ten participants were interviewed. The data analysis process involved both narrative and thematic approaches. The main research question was: What were the employee experiences during the Covid-19 epidemic in a NZ tertiary educational institute? Sub-question topics included: the overall changes experienced in the workplace due to Covid 19; the types of support services provided ((e.g., training, technology, new policies, other), appropriateness of the communications to help staff adapt to the changes; the level of difficulty or ease and stress of staff to adjust to the changes; staff preferences to working from home or being back in the workplace post lockdowns; identifying the issues around job security, workloads, staff resignations and suggestions of what further changes were needed to be made. Some key findings were: employee fast adaptation to learning new technology, the need to adapt a new hybrid working model for the future, social interaction challenging for some employees, a new trust between the managers and the staff due to remote working, increased workload causing stress due to staff resignations, employees still measured on the quality of their work, the frequency of check-ins by well-being staff on other staff working remotely only happened during the early stages of the first Covid-19 lockdown.
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