Choice Energy’s Christopher Dean shares his coronavirus diary: July 2020


Choice Energy chief executive Christopher Dean.

Here we are, back in the brace position. This time, however, with seas we know a little better, and a touch more experience under our belts.

When you watch the daily coronavirus cases count grow, an announcement from the Premier wasn’t going to be filled with surprises: the numbers alone told me what was around the corner.

The first call of business was to ensure everyone was armed with what they needed to minimise their risk. Team members who had returned to the office were encouraged to take their laptops home with them every night, ensuring any oncoming lockdown was going to be less of an interruption to their day, and to remove the need to return to our Richmond HQ at a time when many other office workers may be doing the same.

Next, diffuse the despair and agony the media seems so intent to push when it comes to this lockdown period. With news articles and programs focusing so much on triggering and sensationalist language, it’s easy to get wrapped up and taken back to a darker place. We know not every business is going to make it out the other side, and that there are individuals and families across metro Melbourne who will suffer again for six weeks. But as always: what can we control and how can we make positive decisions in the wake of a negative event?

In my latest team email, I outline three of these areas.

1. Focus on hygiene.

It’s your easiest control. Keep hands sanitised, stay home, cough into your elbow. Wash your hands before and after a trip to the grocery store. The simple tasks we can all undertake.

2. Be fair and kind to those around you.

This goes beyond exhausted topics such as panic buying and retail staff abuse. Everyone is a mix of worried and frustrated right now. Leaning into the practice of kindness and fairness is a small service you can offer others. When you give kindness to others, you lead by example and inspire more of it.

3. Smile as you try to help your customers.

It’s an extension of the above, really. We don’t need to remind our customers, many of whom are BAU during these weird times, how confusing and frustrating the world is. Instead, we need to remind them that our services always have, and always will be about helping them pay less for essential energy. Nothing keeps me going quite like remembering this.

Taking control

I also pulled up a list from a team brainstorm we did years ago. Together, we listed the free things we can do every day to have a deeper, mindful experience at work and beyond.

Here’s the list for anyone looking for simple things they can control when so much feels uncontrollable.

  • Say ‘yes’ more
  • Say ‘no’ more
  • Start early
  • Take the stairs
  • Make one more call
  • Spend 15 minutes a day preparing
  • Spend 15 minutes a week preparing
  • Read one book a year, quarter, month or week 
  • Practice!
  • Share your goals
  • Set your goals
  • Ask for help
  • Help someone
  • Follow up with everyone
  • Set proper notes 
  • Get better at client relationship management
  • Say-do, every time (if you say you’ll do it, do it or do not say it at all)
  • Go to bed earlier  
  • Get up earlier 
  • Turn the TV off earlier 
  • Detach from your phone 
  • Touch the earth with bare feet (grounding)
  • Get very cold
  • Get your emails to zero every day or at least every week.

I’m choosing not to see the stage three restrictions as a ‘back to where we were’ moment.

This is different. Now, we’ve already seen the reality of spread and the impact it has on businesses and individuals.

This is a different kind of lockdown, one where we know more. We’re not focusing on how we can do this again. We’re focusing on how we can do it again, but better.

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