When the pandemic hit my home state of Delaware in March, 2020, almost everyone, from customer service representatives and admins to corporate lawyers and physicians, was suddenly working from home. My sons, ages 15 and 12, were schooling from home. My husband, who is an “essential” employee at our local power company, was even working from home for 1 week out of his 7 week rotation schedule. I have been working from home for over 8 years, so my adjustments came in the way of having 3 additional “co-workers” here with me during the day, when I was used to having a quiet house to work in all day! Our house remained relatively quiet, as everyone became very busy schooling and working Monday through Friday.
It was interesting to learn how quickly traditional office workers transitioned to working from home. Most reports I’ve read say that productivity increased during the pandemic and new shift to home offices. I heard remotely how my co-workers, who had worked the traditional 9-5 office routine, quickly adapted to working from home, along with their spouses and children of all ages. Obviously, everyone’s situation was different, and working from home seemed to require more of a juggling act for those with school-age children, who were acclimating to online schooling, or young children, who were suddenly home all day due to daycare closures.
School and Zoom
Our family adjusted quickly to the schools’ new Zoom classes, schedules, and continued expectations for my sons’ assignments and deliverables. I am amazed at the amount of learning they accomplished, and how well they managed it all, as everything was so new. Their teachers did an incredible job, as they basically had to figure out how to teach virtually – overnight. It was surreal to work in my home office, while my boys were doing homework and participating in calls in their rooms. I was happy to have them home with me, and I quickly learned how much we all can accomplish when under pressure and given no other choice.
My new routine
Flexibility was the key to success for us, as I found myself scheduling blocks of time for new tasks, such as ensuring my younger son was online for his 6th grade classes when he needed to be, and submitting his assignments on time. Overseeing my children’s’ grades now required a lot more time and effort, as all assignments were being done on Google classroom, and there were so many of them! Luckily, I have a part-time work schedule, so keeping it all together was not as much of a challenge for me as it would have been had I been working full-time. I scheduled my phone interviews around my sons’ school start times, and spent my evenings reviewing their schoolwork, and corresponding with their teachers. Most of the candidates I interview live on the West Coast, and there is a 3-hour time difference from Delaware to Washington state. Having my early mornings and evenings free also allowed me to juggle my work responsibilities and new “home-schooling” demands.
At iSoftStone, this new normal of everyone working from home resulted in our work group/s growing closer. Our iSoftStone Leadership Team held Town Hall meetings via Zoom, and the first meeting was especially helpful to me. It was held at the beginning of the crisis, and one of our top leaders from China joined the call. He spoke about the virus situation there, and how things were beginning to open, and that China was slowly returning to a new normal. I found great hope in that, as our situation in the US was so precarious. Our Recruiting Manager also instituted Happy Hours via Zoom, which were a great way to interact and learn more about other team members. Topics like show and tell, Family Feud, cooking contests, and online games gave us a chance to learn more about our team members, and helped us escape the uncertainty of the pandemic situation.
I have always felt lucky to work for iSoftStone, especially remotely, as working remotely allows me to work as a Recruiter, which I love, and handle my family responsibilities, too. These virtual meetings revealed that everyone’s situation was different, and working remotely, which I’ve always seen as a blessing, could be a challenge for those in different situations. Others were juggling the new, remote working situation while also caring for small children, since daycare centers were closed. Some living alone faced feelings of isolation, with the loss of their offices and daily interactions with co-workers. Our leaders have been very flexible and supportive of our collective, and unique, situations, and I’m sure all employees are grateful for that. Being able to focus on my job, and recruit and meet new people from a distance, helped me stay positive and productive during this uncertain time.
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