Our Team Reflects on the Pandemic Year
Although June is not the typical time to ask your team to reflect on the prior year, living through a pandemic has a way of warping time as we know it. It’s been nearly a year and a half since we packed our desks for a rumored 2-week work-from-home hiatus in hopes to curb the virus. A lot of change can happen in a normal calendar year but throw in a pandemic and it can change life as we know it, while simultaneously making us feel like time is standing still. We asked our team a variety of questions ranging from new hobbies to what they miss most about the office. While 2020 was mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing, our team was able to find humor, hope, and joy in the midst of the chaos.
During 2020, we adapted to a major shift in how we work, interact, and function in our daily lives. Compare your at-home workspace from the beginning of the pandemic to its current state. What do you miss most about your in-office space?
- I went from working at the kitchen table to having a standing desk with a view out the window. I miss social interaction with people outside my immediate family.
- Generally, I prefer a pretty spartan workspace to keep distractions down to a minimum, so not much has changed. What I miss most about being in the office is the ad-hoc collaborations, something we are trying to recreate with very casual Zoom meetings where there is no agenda other than to chat as needed whilst working on our tickets.
- As much as we may engage virtually, there is no equivalent to running into someone in the kitchen, or taking a moment to throw darts, or being able to just turn around and have a conversation.
- My in-office desk setup was much plusher than my at-home setup. I miss my customized standing desk. My at-home setup varies, which I have come to love. Sometimes it's the office, sometimes it's sharing the comfy chair in the living room with my pup.
- I definitely miss the atmosphere and regularly seeing my coworkers every day. Having my laptop at home makes working easy enough but chatting with coworkers has to be scheduled over Zoom.
You probably acquired an unofficial new coworker, whether it's a roommate, a significant other, a child, or a 4-legged friend. Share a funny story or a tip you've learned along the way.
- The funny thing is our dog has a more regular schedule than the rest of us. And he will let us know when we have thrown it out of whack.
- My dog snores. My microphone is apparently very good. My team now knows what my dog snoring in the other room sounds like.
- My cat has typed out multiple Slack messages while doing his hourly walk-throughs and after the first few I've just started to actually send them to people and let them know who the gibberish came from!
- Things are a little different now. The children are back in school (in-person) and things got a lot easier! However, when my children were around during 2020, I would always let the person I was talking to know they might hear or see them. I would usually let them say hello, because that was the quickest way to get them to go back to whatever they were doing before. I definitely had embarrassing moments where the kids were melting down in the living room while I was in a meeting...
- My dachshund puppy joined us about halfway through the pandemic and she is a true pandemic puppy. She hates to be away from us, and the feeling is reciprocated. She has made her presence known on many Zoom calls.
- Make sure the mute button is on when you are not presenting.
How have you changed as a result of the pandemic? What new habits or hobbies have you adopted?
- I have become more withdrawn, which is weird for an extrovert. I wish there was some great new habit or hobby. All the new habits revolve around the dog’s schedule.
- I've apparently lost the ability to drive.
- Working out in the mornings is definitely easier now because I've got an extra hour at least every day.
- Not having to rush out in the mornings has allowed me to sleep better, which in turn helps me function better during work hours so that's been a nice plus.
- Not a new habit but I've added more exercise to my routine, which has helped me better manage pandemic life.
- I began lifting weights again when we started WFH in 2020. It's a hobby I loved back in high school but stopped during college. Picking up this old hobby has improved my mental health tremendously. I've also had more time to cook healthier meals at home instead of opting for fast food after work.
- I learned to be more patient with myself and others. I have a deeper appreciation for mental health. My new habits are daily neighborhood walks and gardening.
- I feel like I have fully adhered to the "Pandemic Starter Pack" lifestyle. I work from home, I got a puppy, and bought a Peloton. I've always been very into spin classes and I love that working from home allows me to have more flexibility in my workout schedule. The Peloton community has been my escape from the daunting reality of living through a pandemic.
- I have learned how to be efficient and focused - even when there are tons of distractions.
What’s one of your favorite memories from 2020?
- This is sarcasm, right?
- Seeing smiling faces again for the first time.
- We built a small deck in the backyard. It is now my favorite place to hang out! Even though pandemic life is chaotic, I'm going to miss spending the extra time with my family... Also, hiring co-workers from different states!
- Bringing Wally home, Gage's first birthday, seeing Sam learn to read, the presidential election, holidays without extended family pressures/expectations, getting my vaccine! There was actually a lot of good stuff in the midst of it all.
- Christmas without extended family was definitely a highlight!
- Bringing home my puppy Olive. Still can't believe she used to be 3 pounds.
Describe 2020 in 1-3 words.
- Calm. Finished.
- Kiddos, Slack, ugh.
- Introverted Engineer's Dream
- Plan? What's that?
- Pajamas, Short Commute, Cats
- Positive paradigm shift
- Batsh*t crazy and revealing
- Challenging, innovative
- Exhausting, challenging
- Onwards and upwards
About the author: Ashley is the operations specialist at cloudtamer.io.