4 min read

7 Weeks Remote

Stay at home orders during covid-19

If you would have told me 12 weeks ago that we would move 100% of our staff to work from home due to a global pandemic with stay-at-home orders, and that we would now be 7 weeks into working remotely I would not have laughed, but I might look at you with a inquisitive head tilt like a dog hearing a strange sound for the first time.

It seems a lifetime of events in 90 days.

February 5, 2020

The World Health Organization provides a briefing on novel coronavirus from Geneva with 4363 cases in China and 191 cases outside of China in 24 countries. *

I fly from Dallas to Los Angeles to sit on a panel discussion on technology with approximately 75 attendees.

February 6, 2020

I fly from Los Angeles to Dallas, the person sitting next to me on the flight wipes his tray table with a disinfecting cloth. He wears a mask. I start washing my hands more regularly and diligently.

February 11, 2020

The World Health Organization announced a new name for the 2019 novel coronavirus – Covid-19.**

I attend a strategy meeting with a client and host a meeting with a vendor. I continue to wash my hands more frequently, as does the majority of our employees

March 11th, 2020

The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic.***

I conduct and facilitate cyber security training for approximately 100 employees at our client’s offices. I wash my hands before leaving.

Monday, March 16th, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control states the potential public health threat posed by Covid-19 is very high.

Our county judge issues a disaster declaration for the county.

At 9:00 a.m. in the office, I decide to send all employees home to begin working remotely. Within 30 minutes our office is empty. We send the announcement to all our clients’.

Monday, March 16th thru Friday, April 3rd

Fluid is inundated with support requests from clients’ decision to work from home all at the same time.

I continue to wash my hands vigorously.

Friday, March 20th, 2020

I send an email to all employees notifying them we will work from home indefinitely and include tips and guidelines for working remotely, including strong encouragement to use the video capabilities of our Teams tool to enhance collaboration.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Our county judge issues stay-at-home orders for all persons in the county, except for travel related to essential activities.

Washing hands.

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

We host our first company virtual happy hour using Microsoft Teams. Seeing everyone’s partner, family, pets, etc. gives us a needed boost.

New layer of skin from hand washing.

Friday, April 24th, 2020

Our county judge posts the “It’s time for Texas families to get back to work” letter he shared with our state governor on behalf of our county.

I send an email to all employees notifying them we will remain working from home through the month of May and potentially June. Any deviation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Friday, May 1st, 2020

Texas and other states are starting to gradually open up. There is some promising hope with existing drugs not discovered by politics.

We end another week of a once-in-a-lifetime event (we can only hope) looking forward with great anticipation to seeing each other in person again.

What have we learned?

  • Everyone adjusts to and handles working from home differently. Each person needs to be treated sensitively and proactively.
  • Shopping online for home delivery proves frustrating with many items unavailable and countless ‘resubmits’ to get an order finally processed.
  • Requiring video in all virtual meetings is met with brief push back but pays huge dividends.
  • Every employee has a unique situation at home. Seeing behind the scenes brings us all closer.
  • Lock your computer when you leave your seat even at home. One employee three-year-old daughter appears during a video conference in the over sized chair and begins typing chat messages (more like random characters) and drinking daddy’s coffee.
  • Group chat can be very effective, but also lacks context, creating unnecessary angst and unplanned results.
  • Every employee needs one-on-one ‘wellbeing’ video sessions on a regular basis.
  • Millennials are generally more ready and willing to go out and get ‘back to normal’.
  • Screen sharing documents and allowing for screen control enhances productivity.

A worskstation showing the remote work culture and the screen showing different softwares and apps used.My home dining room setup.

  • My wife likes to perform karate moves behind me during video calls.
  • The view and opinion of working remotely varies greatly. I find I am less distracted and actually work longer hours. The employee with a three-year-old and an eight-year-old and a wife that works from home can’t wait to get back to the office.
  • Some people have more idle time at home and may need guidance on how to best make use of that time.
  • My cats like to meow behind me during important client video calls.
  • I filled up my gas tank on Monday, March 16th and still have ¾ of a tank.
  • In formal video meetings, people are business up top and casual on the bottom.
  • Sending a surprise small personal gift to each employees’ homes meant more to them than I could have imagined.
  • Dining room tables are the predominant remote work space.
  • Pets are getting more exercise than they have in all their previous years combined.
  • Some clients have more idle time and use Fluid for more non-traditional purposes. This time must be monitored closely.
  • I’ve lost track of days, weeks even months at times.
  • It is important to be aware of everyone on a chat message thread. What you don’t pay attention to can hurt you.
  • Dining room chairs aren’t as comfortable as office chairs after 4 hours.
  • I see more people walking down the middle of my empty street than ever before.
  • People still take bathroom breaks during video meetings.
  • My little Jack Russell, Daisy, won’t leave my side, sleeping at my feet until my day is done.

A white dog with big black spots resting on the red blanket.
Daisy right by my side.

WE ALL AGREE WE WILL COME OUT OF THIS STRONGER AND BETTER THEN WHEN WE WENT IN.
WE ALL AGREE WE ARE SINCERELY THANKFUL FOR ALL THE HEALTHCARE WORKERS, SCIENTISTS, AND ALL THE FRONT-LINE INCREDIBLE PEOPLE WORKING FOR ALL OF US!

* World Health Organization daily briefing, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/media-resources/press-briefings/6#

** World Health Organization via Twitter on February 11th

*** World Health Organization daily briefing, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/media-resources/press-briefings/3#

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