Like so many others, our team has spent the last few weeks acclimating to the new reality of working from home. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, everyone on our staff began telecommuting in mid March. The experience has been different for each of us, but we’re happy to report that we’re not only able to service clients, we’re also maintaining our collective sense of humor.
Because we’re all in this together, we thought it would be fun to share a few personal stories and photos from our crew. So, without further ado, here are some real-life snippets and words of wisdom from some members of our intrepid team.
Erin is not only at home with her kids, she has a new, four-footed family member in the mix as well. Like many of us, she’s grateful for the diversion.
After years of relentless begging by our kids, we finally broke down this January and got a puppy. I have to say that overall the timing was good. He lifts our spirits every day. The only downside is that he barks A LOT during the day because he knows we are home and wants to play. It has made focusing on work and school a bit challenging! But, who could stay angry at that face for long?
Life on the Inside
Picture this—as a working attorney and multitasking Mom of three, I thought that I had it all figured out: work while the kids are in school, help with homework, plan meals, manage after school activities. I had it down to a system.
Then came COVID-19.
Now, each day there are five of us who are either working remotely or going to online school, sharing physical space, checking in with colleagues and teachers – all at the same time.
It’s a different kind of multitasking that requires my attention and focus in a totally new way. I need to ensure that my kids have some kind of routine and structure to get through their day and calm any anxieties, and I also need to do the same for myself. I try to build in exercise, reading, and checking in with my parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews everyday via videoconferencing. It’s nice to have a visual on everyone and always generates a laugh or two.
Life on the inside allows for much physical togetherness, but isolation at the same time. I am grateful that technology allows me to connect with the families who need me for my expertise in estate planning during this difficult time. I am fortunate to continue to be able to help my families who are in crisis with long-term care needs that don’t stop for any virus. I meet with them by phone or even by FaceTime. We connect through our common situation—the upheaval that the virus has brought to our everyday lives—but we can also connect through our hopes for the future. We connect in new ways—like when I spoke with a client’s daughter about how her child was doing with online school and distance learning. We had a lot of experiences to share.
I still get the same questions from my kids before the virus happened – “What’s for dinner?” and “Do I have to do my homework now?” In a small way, it is a comfort that some simple routines do not change. But life on the inside will change all of us and I think that once this is all over, I will reflect on this time as one of many challenges, but also as one of many new connections. I have something in common with all my families that I talk to each day. We are all experiencing life on the inside – but there are no boundaries to our shared collective experiences.
We are all home! When I say all, I mean husband, two college-age sons, two sugar gliders, one tadpole my son plucked from a nearby reservoir which shows no signs of becoming a frog, and two mice we caught in our house and my husband decided to keep as pets. In addition to attending to our indoor menagerie, we’ve also been observing the outside wildlife, and have learned that squirrels like spaghetti!
One of my sons is a drummer, so that makes for fun phone conferences. We’re playing board games, binge watching shows, and even had a family paint night.
Jeff is doing well, but losing his sense of time. (Aren’t we all?) Luckily, his dogs are more than happy to come to the rescue.
I have commandeered the room formerly known as “The Guest Room” to serve as my makeshift office, or—as I have also described it to colleagues—“the firm’s Farmington Satellite Office.” Since time seems blurry nowadays, I mark portions of my workday by another measure: “The Changing of the Dogs.” The view beyond my desk and laptop includes one comfy chair that is shared by two dogs. Periodically throughout the day I bear witness to a growly stare down, and one will slink away while the other takes her place. And so on in cycles. Who is the alpha? Hard to say.
Here are two takeaways from my work-from-home experience so far.
My 3-year-old interrupted a call with a client this week by running into my home office and shouting “Mommy, I pooped!” I, of course, was mortified, but the lovely couple on the other end wanted to know all about my son. I never imagined my work could get more personal than it already was, given that I get to know my clients’ family dynamics and secrets pretty intimately, often the very first time I meet them. Now, however, some of my clients are getting an unfiltered glimpse into my personal life as I work from home. It’s a whole new level of personal.
Before the era of social distancing, I would have described myself as an extreme extrovert. I never worked from home and always enjoyed having an inherent social component in my work. Now, I miss going into the office, but find that virtual socialization suffices for me … at least for now. Perhaps the warming weather will change my view.
As you can see, we’re all figuring things out one day at a time. Our at-home situations and coping mechanisms may be different, but we all have a few things in common. We’re committed to each other and to the people we serve. COVID-19 may have changed our lives in unexpected and even profound ways, but that doesn’t change the heart of who we are and what we do.
We hope that you and yours are staying safe and well in your respective homes. Remember, even when we’re alone, we’re alone together; and that makes all the difference.
(By the way, in case you missed our quick video, watch the inspiring message our attorneys have for you!)
Working from home means we can still “meet” with you via phone and video conference.
Contact us if you need guidance, we’re here for you.