9 Aug 2020

Prof. Darl Kolb considers the impact of working from home during the Covid-19 lockdown

From Smart Talk, 4:06 pm on 9 August 2020
RNZ Pacific journalist Talei Anderson working from her parents' garage during the Covid-19 lockdown

RNZ Pacific journalist Talei Anderson working from her parents' garage during the Covid-19 lockdown Photo: Supplied

The Covid-19 lockdown that New Zealand went through was a profound experience for us all. Roads emptied of their usual traffic. The country closed down, and everyone stayed home. But for many people, work went on, on kitchen tables, in laundries or in spare bedrooms as computers were linked into the online workplace.

Everyone, it seems, became expert in Zoom meetings, and the etiquette of purposeful video conversations. Never before has the mute button become more important as way of facilitating effective communication!

Jervois Quay

Jervois Quay Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

The range of responses to this social and organisational experiment was extraordinarily wide, from those who welcomed the chance to abandon the rush-hour commute, to those who felt trapped by the demands of work piling on to those of family living, home schooling and childcare.  

If you’re working from home, do you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot, or is it a punishing marathon that never seems to end? Auckland University’s Prof. Darl Kolb has been asking people to describe their working from home experiences using metaphors.

Remote working from home with laptop, and pet cat.

Photo: 123RF

Darl explores how people are coming to grips with the new normal. “Working without seeing my boss is like getting out of prison,” says one person, while another says: “The technology I have to work with at home makes me feel like the poorest kid in the class.”

Join Darl as he explores how people see and describe the new world of working from home and what might we learn from this grand social experiment. Has it changed the world of work, or will we drift in time back to the old ways of doing things?

For more information about Darl's current research project, check out his Metaphors in Use website.

About the speaker

Prof Darl Kolb

Prof Darl Kolb Photo: University of Auckland

Dr Darl Kolb is a pioneering theorist on socio-technical connectivity and the first Professor of Connectivity in the world.

Darl received his PhD in organisational behaviour from Cornell University and has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

His main research interest is in the area of managing personal and organisational connectivity for performance and wellbeing.

Prior to becoming an academic, Darl worked as an Outward Bound Instructor throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Alaska.

He now works at the Graduate School of Management in the University of Auckland’s Business School.


Photo: University of Auckland

Raising the Bar was recorded in association with the University of Auckland