As the coronavirus takes over the world, our team has had to adjust from downtown office life to working at home. Some are taking it really well. Others are possibly going insane -- almost all of us. But the work keeps on coming and the coffee brews a lot more than normal. We're staying focused and productive as we adapt to this challenging time. Take a read below as each of us talks about how we're coping with working from home and trying not to lose our minds by staying productive, taking walks, and loving our pets. Well, maybe not so much "loving" as "tolerating" right now.
Joseph C. Markovich, President + CEO
I am a person that needs social interaction all of the time! This abrupt change and isolation has been very difficult for me. Thankfully, Sean is six feet away from me and I can bug him endlessly. Phone calls and Teams meetings help, but it's not the same. The cats know something is up too, since we are now home all day, every day. Even with this jolt to their daily routines, they are still really good at napping and ignoring us.
My routine has stayed basically the same: get ready for the day, eat breakfast, consume many cups of coffee and just go downstairs to work, go for a walk with Sean, eat dinner, work a bit more, watch Star Trek, go to bed. Repeat. There are two things I have realized:
One, I'm overthinking things a lot more. This leads me to stare out the window -- thinking, thinking, thinking. To counter this, I am trying to keep my tasks broken up into much smaller bites so I can check more of them off. Yes, a fake out to my brain, but helping me stay on top of the list.
Second, I'm enjoying the peace and quiet. This contradicts the social interaction I need, but some of my stress and anxiety is getting refocused from things that are an annoyance/bother/hindrance to things I can control and change. That's letting me have fun with other projects for our clients -- like using their Microsoft 365 subscriptions and showing all the amazing things it can do.
Plus, the days go by much faster.
Sean Hay, CMTO
Honestly, the best part about this whole stay-at-home deal is that I don't have to wear shoes all day. Science hasn't yet proven this, but I believe that people think better without shoes on.
Other than that, I do make it a point to shower, get dressed like normal, and start and end the day on time. If I didn't set a little structure for myself, I'd probably end up bleary-eyed, tapping away at my keyboard for days on end on the floor in a corner of a dark room, surrounded by empty coffee cups and ho-ho wrappers or something depressing. I also don't eat breakfast or lunch at my desk. It's just another reason to get up and stretch my legs.
The toughest part for me has been having the Y closed. I'd imagine lots of desk workers are like this too, but sitting at a desk all day leaves me with a bunch of pent-up energy that I've struggled to find a good outlet for so far. The weather's starting to warm up, though, so there's always the prospect of going for a run...
Renea Gallagher, Creative Director
I’d have to say my biggest challenge working from home now is dealing with our dog, Jake.
COVID-19 has limited the nation to one activity: walks. I live in an active subdivision where I’d say, there’s a walker that comes by every two to five minutes. As soon as Jake sees them, look out! He’s on the attack. Which means I need to either:
a. let him outside,
b. put him in one of the kids rooms or
c. put him in the office with me.
I’m seriously considering giving him Benadryl on a daily basis -- just kidding. But really, this dog is a grey, 8 year old pug mix that has the energy of a young greyhound. I appreciate his eagerness to protect us but I’m starting to wonder if he’s losing his mind because the family is in the house all the time. He’s probably wondering, “did you lose your jobs” and "when am I going to get some alone time?" I feel your pain Jake, but please chill out and act your age! Hopefully, sometime soon, we all can start getting back to normal.
Jill Nowak, Graphic Designer
Being cooped up inside the house is driving me crazy; as I assume, it must be for others right now. For me, staying inside is enjoyable to a certain point -- until I feel bored and crave the chance to step outside. With the weather changing, I get easily chilled from staying outside even 10 minutes. I’m faced with a double-edged sword -- boredom from staying inside and cold weather locking me in.
On top of that, my dogs constantly bark during the day. Plus, one of my siblings is also working from home. Finding my own space to be productive was a challenge. However, I eventually found my groove by implementing limitations and creating lists. For example, my limitations include facing a certain way at the dinner table to reduce distractions, taking only necessary breaks, and setting boundaries with my family so I can stay focused. Each day, I create lists of items to accomplish which has helped relieve some of my anxiety. These simple ways of increasing productivity -- limits and lists -- have surprised me in how effective they really are.
Haleigh Vander Vinne, Social Media + Content Marketing Specialist
Working from home sucks. Period. At first, because my room wasn't cleaner, meaning my desk was covered in stuff, I stationed myself in the living room where my mom watched TV and my sister played her video games. So the first week, I had a very difficult time focusing, needless to say. However, I cleaned my desk off and rearranged my bedroom a bit, that's when I realized that my desk may be made for a child. It is so small that with my 5' 10" frame, it doesn't even reach my hip. Creating this little space has helped me a lot though. I almost feel like I'm at work in my own tiny kid's office.
The most challenging part for me is that both of my gyms are closed and everyone is home, leaving me with practically no "me time." But now that I work from home, I've designated a day to wear sweats, yoga pants or leggings, just like I did in high school. I'm bringing back Lazy Wednesdays!