This is our new normal


Audio and video conferences, online meetings and events, and webinars have become the new normal, as far as work is concerned during the pandemic lockdown.


Since members of the university community have been working remotely during the last few months, it has become clear that the mode of meetings has changed, and that staff members must adapt to the new virtual work environment.


With this said, staff from the School of Accounting Sciences on the Vanderbijlpark Campus are proving that almost everything they did at the office before the lockdown, can also be done remotely with great success. This is evident in the team’s novel approach to team building, as described in the article above.

Have you recently had Wonder Woman, Ironman, Hannah Montana and Andy Capp at your online work meetings? No? Well, the School of Accounting Sciences on the Vanderbijlpark Campus did, and they had a ball.

According to school director Prof Heleen Janse van Vuuren, meeting in an online environment and working at a screen all day can be draining and have a negative effect on the energy levels of participants.


To guard against online fatigue, the school called on their social team to come up with innovative ways to not only ensure greater engagement, but also to energise participants to bring their A-game to every meeting.


On top of their game


The social team, consisting of Ashley Pietersen, Boipelo Moncho and Jesse Manickum, did not disappoint. They have turned school meetings into opportunities for team building that are proving to be hugely beneficial in helping colleagues have fun and engage with one another in a virtual space.


The trio’s first innovation saw each participant signing in for a meeting using a pseudonym that best described themselves.


This saw characters such as Wonder Woman, Ironman, Hannah Montana and Andy Capp in attendance. Members of the social team called out the screen names and the colleagues had an opportunity to guess who it was.


A second meeting saw the social team challenging all participants to a game show-type quiz. Anneke Moolman was named quiz champion after racking up the most points. And just so you know, the questions were all but easy! Did you know, for example, that McDonald's is the biggest distributor of toys in the world?


“If there is one thing my team and I have learnt during this pandemic, it is that there is no reason why we shouldn’t celebrate our social union as colleagues and friends,” says Heleen.


She adds that every member of the school is looking forward to their next meeting, and is eagerly anticipating what fun and out-of-the-box activity they will be taking part in.

Accountants zoom in on

team building during lockdown

Accountants zoom in on

team building during lockdown

Prof Heleen Janse van Vuuren used the pseudonym, Gladys.


Did you know?


  • It is estimated that online meetings have grown from 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019, to more than 200 million in March 2020.


  • Alongside Skype and Microsoft Teams, virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom have boomed during the pandemic, topping download charts and becoming the hub of business communication. The average video conferencing meeting length is 31 to 60 minutes.