We are pros at staying connected from a (social) distance.
Before taking our work remote for the time being, DOM team members had been working out of two offices — one in Wheeling, WV, the other in Pittsburgh, PA. So we know how to keep in touch even when we’re not working in the same place.
In fact, at the end of February, we launched our “Working From Home” Beta. In this new program, each one of us gets one day a month to work from home. Little did we know that just a week or so later, we’d all be working from home for a while.
A New Way to Work
All of a sudden, it felt like a scene out of Harry Potter, except where Lord Voldemort is COVID-19 making Harry (that’s me) feel alone and isolated from his friends. Luckily, this is another story. And working from home is less dramatic than the 8-movie saga. The first day was hard, but it got better by the end of the week.
When I started working from home, I realized I’d forgotten a few things at the office, things that I just miss having around and things that keep me accountable. I started a little mental list for the material things: my second monitor, my mouse, my notebook for notes (and doodles), my pens, and my headphones.
The material things were fairly easy to get (and management was even willing to buy us equipment and ship it to our homes if necessary). It took a couple of trips to the office for Mike Criswell and me to get everything I needed. Then my home set up was much better than day 1.
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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things
Also, it was super important that I get three of my favorite desk accessories:
- TIA Picture Holder — Nikki Powley got me this picture holder when I became a very proud auntie! The picture is of me with my two beautiful nieces on my graduation day from West Liberty University.
- Coffee Mug — I drink coffee, then I exist. What I like most about this mug is that it has a hefty lid and keeps my coffee warm for a long time. And isn’t that saying cute?
- A Good Onion — That’s a stress ball shaped like an onion. To learn more about the story behind our Good Onions, check out the Careers Page. I figured the days ahead might be a bit rocky, so it’s nice to have a stress reliever on hand.
Besides the physical stuff, there’s also the personal. I missed my coworkers. There’s a camaraderie in the office that is natural among us just from working all in the same space: We’re our daily neighbors. I’ve come to realize, though, that that togetherness isn’t gone. Our virtual chat app blows up every day with client updates, challenges, and opportunities — but also with random conversations and hilarious oversharing about our new work environments.
Our Home Assistants
They have been on call too:
Auggie — Reviewing our Slack conversations.
Huey — Ready to start the day!
DOM Spotify Playlist
On our first Friday of working from home, we created “The Best Friday Playlist Ever” on Spotify. Some of us call it The Most Eclectic Playlist; that’s what makes it unique. Everyone shared their favorite songs, the ones that help them stay motivated. We’re thankful that someone added “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. We’ve continued to listen and will keep updating the playlist. So far it’s 6 hours long!
Nowadays, social interaction is more appreciated than ever. I’ve taken a few screenshots to share the joy:
A Hoddie Meeting
If you didn’t have a hoodie, you had to improvise.
PPC Meeting on St. Patrick’s Day
State of DOM
Working From Home Learnings
We’ve also been discussing the challenges of working from home. Here is some advice from the team:
- Dress like you are going to work — It can sound silly, because why do you need to dress up if you’re not going anywhere? But getting dressed as if you were going into work helps you get in the right mental space.
- Use video calls to communicate as much as possible – This will help you feel connected to coworkers and supervisors. Email and Slack are great, but seeing and hearing your workmates helps maintain those bonds in a more personal way. And remember to use good lighting and a nice background!
- Create your own routine — No matter how minutely or broadly you care to define it, write down a schedule and do your best to stick to it.
- Never underestimate the power of walks — If you are feeling stressed out or it’s hard to concentrate, go on a walk (close to home, down the hall, out in your yard, or walk your dog or cat). Get fresh air and you will feel better.
To everyone out there who is also adjusting to working from home, you are not as alone as it might seem that Lord Voldemort is trying to make you feel. We all are figuring out new ways to be productive and stay sane. Keep an open mind to new ideas. Practice understanding — of both others and yourself. And be kind, always.