Your life has surely changed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s no different for us RWS Moravians. In this blog post, our colleagues share how our lives and work have been altered during this challenging time.
Jan Grodecki, Solutions Architect
With the requirement that we work from home, there’s been no big change, as I have been working from home for 3 years already. It does not affect my work very much, as I am busy as always. I will miss face-to-face client interaction and attending conferences, though. Among colleagues, we discuss the current situation in every meeting and share experiences and impressions. Working across many countries definitely has its benefits.
My family also works from home now, which is great. We take breaks together, get groceries, take walks, etc. My son is a college student who attends online classes from home. We’ll see how that goes! He has his own social life with friends online, communicating and playing video games, but he’s definitely unhappy about trails being closed. We get groceries 2-3 times per week and go for walks at least every other day. I also go running. All while keeping a reasonable distance from others. There’s more family interaction; we communicate more. Less shopping and dining out, which is a good thing.
The information that is currently being provided is quite confusing and inconsistent. What distance is safe, where are potential sources of infection, should I wear a mask or not? I am very concerned about the impact on the worldwide economy. It’d be great if mankind could learn from this global impact, move together more and focus on important things. My hopes are not very high, though. For me, it is too early to make any conclusions yet. Once we have surmounted the peak of the coronavirus and are able to grasp its lasting impact, probably everyone will reflect on how that affected life and how it will change priorities in the future.
Erik Vogt, VP of Partnerships and Custom Solutions
When someone defined social distancing for me the first time a few short weeks ago, I realized I finally had a term that describes my normal life. My office is about 20 feet from my bed (although I do need to budget in the 70-foot round-trip to the kitchen to get a coffee during my morning commute), so on a ‘normal’ week at home, I may not even see the outside world until early afternoon.
I have been ordering most things online for years, and the one place I still shop locally—the small neighborhood grocer—is mostly still the same once you get used to the plexiglass barriers between you and the cashier and more than a few scary customers wearing homemade interpretations of biohazard suits.
There are other perks. Having cancelled my travel schedule made me realize what not being jet-lagged feels like for the first time in what seems like a decade. I could get used to this! I’ve also been able to catch up on a few projects around the house I had usually been too tired to spend my weekends dealing with for the last few years. I still drive around town occasionally, and while the traffic has improved considerably, it’s not nearly as sparse as I would have thought.
There are downsides, of course, but mostly I worry about the world. I miss going out to restaurants, and I can’t help but feel slightly hurt when fellow pedestrians cross the street to avoid passing me on the sidewalk. I worry about my friends who are either suddenly unemployed or have seen their customer base plummet. But the sun still feels good in the spring, little sparks of green are starting to poke out of the dry husks of last year’s flora, and I’m reminded that this, too, will pass. We’ll get through this.
Jamie Gillette, Program Manager
Having worked from home for 11 years now, this is “status quo” for me. Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to finding different paths for collaboration that would normally occur in the office and taking time to connect with peers virtually. What becomes a challenge, and requires extensive discipline, is separating personal and work lives, as they become blurred in a work-from-home scenario. I am blessed with two kids, one of which is currently at home full-time with me. We are lucky in so far as having online classwork in the mornings to stay busy, and we have a running joke between us about how we both “work” from home and start our days in the same way. As a parent, I’m working on coming to terms with my own guilt of not being able to interact with my child all day long, and leaving her to find her own fun, which has included sidewalk chalk drawings, baking and even video games.
We are avoiding physical contact with anyone outside our home, and in the event we have to venture out for essentials, then washing our hands immediately upon returning home, using hand sanitizer and avoiding touching our faces until we are able to do both. Most businesses are closed in our state, so we are naturally social distancing as there are not many options available at this time. I find that I’m MORE plugged into work and taking fewer breaks, as many of my options to physically step away from work and leave home are no longer available.
I wish for two things. First and foremost, that humanity comes out of this stronger for having faced the same challenge together. Secondly, that we can bear the economic and social impact of this epidemic. I look forward to the time when our lives can return to some semblance of normal.
Lee Densmer, Senior Content Marketing Manager
I’ve worked at home for about 12 years, so COVID-19 hasn’t changed much for me. I’d say it’s not affecting my day-to-day work at all. My schedule has changed, though. Both my son and husband are now home all the time. I struggle to keep my son busy and he’s left to his own devices a lot while I work. He does have some schoolwork and I leave him with instructions to play the piano, do chores and write letters to his great-grandma (she is shut-in at her retirement home and surely very lonely). He gets more time on the Xbox than I’d probably like, but it’s the only way he and his friends socialize.
I am cooking a lot more and we are eating three meals a day together instead of me eating two meals at my desk. We are watching more TV and playing card games. Some of my friends have set up virtual happy hours online. I try to call one friend a day. I keep in touch with my parents and sister. We just adopted a dog and we are walking him two times a day. When we’re out walking, people cross the street when they see each other coming, and only about half of them say hello. Why ignore each other during this time?
I have to admit that I’m worried. Not so much for me and my immediate family, because if we got sick it would probably be mild, but my dad has compromised lungs. Also, I’m worried for at-risk populations like refugees in the US. They already have so little, and since many work in food or hotel services, they probably have lost their jobs. My hairdresser, my favorite neighborhood pizza place, the local sporting goods store, any nail salon run by immigrants…the impact to them will be awful. I hope we can put together social services to help them. My family will very probably be OK, but many will not be. Most of us can and will survive this—but the world will be changed forever.