Distance learning

Distance learning

Five lessons from lock down


The life-changing challenge of Covid19 has allowed us all the time to ponder what positive adjustments can be made and grown for the future.

As we look to wrap up our isolation-as-a-nation it’s a good time to look back on what we’ve learned over the last four weeks. Our team (like everyone else) has faced their share of challenges during this time. However we’ve worked on ensuring these challenges either a) weren’t significant or, b) were used as learning opportunities.

We’re surrounded by good people and great communities – now is the time to support and appreciate them!

5. There’ll always be something on the list for tomorrow.

How many of you wrote a big list of things you wanted to do during lockdown? Learn a new language, read that book you’ve been putting off, get a big DIY project finally finished? Now… how many actually accomplished everything? Being realistic with your goals is vital to continued strong mental health. 

Sometimes it might be easier to write a list of what you’ve achieved at the end of each day. Sometimes breaking bigger tasks down into smaller units can be helpful to keep momentum too. Keeping this mindset also means you can appreciate the things you’ve got done rather than barrelling onto the next thing on the list.


4. ‘That’s how things have always been done’ is no longer a reasonable excuse.

This has been a ‘game changer’ in every sense of the term. It’s now even more important to focus on efficiency and making the most of every opportunity to ensure your business is running towards peak performance. Cutting costs and cutting waste must be a priority. 

At Universal we quickly reviewed all processes and spending and worked to reduce or eliminate anything not absolutely necessary. So too have we helped our customers make savings. By reviewing film use and comparing it to previous use they can quickly see if they’re using more wrap per pallet, or if their machine settings have changed. Now is the time to entrench good habits that ensure ongoing optimisation!

3. Dress for the job you want (which is the job you have).

Yes, the first week involved a lot of joking about moving from our day pyjamas to our night pyjamas at the end of work. However, for both our team and the companies we were dealing with, it quickly became apparent that standards don’t slip if you have pride in your work.

Making sure we were mentally prepared for work was vital – and our work attire and home office environment delivers crucial support here. Moving into ‘productivity mode’ is just that much easier if your brain is surrounded by the things it recognises as being work-related. Of course, as you’ll see from the video here, sometimes adjustments needed to be made...

2. Look out for each other. 

It is important in times like this to work with your legacy in mind. Companies that abandon their integrity for quick gains will be remembered in the future.

So too is it vital to let others know you’re there for them, and a lot comes down to simply reaching out and staying in touch. We’ve made checking in with customers a priority.

Daily Zoom catch-ups, whilst a place to share key tasks and daily highlights, were also chance for us to connect and keep the information flowing. In this time we’ve learned how to be more efficient communicators too. It now is that much easier to pick up the phone and ask for help as we’ve never been more aware that together our team is stronger than the sum of its parts.


1. Look out for yourself.

Whilst we may have high expectations for our work and home lives the events of recent weeks have been unprecedented. So it’s important to have fun, to go easy on yourself and to have gratitude for the good things this time has brought with it.

We’re ensuring our online meetings are rewarding beyond simple ‘work talk’, and use this time to share accomplishments (be it making a camp covid for the kids or learning how to make sourdough bread, making lockdown banana bread or eating more than half of this banana bread in one sitting). Our Zoom meetings have also been a great way to meet ‘new’ characters on the team too – particularly Dave’s teddy bear recruits.

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