During this time of COVID-19, many people find themselves working from home. Antea Group's sustainability team members share their silver lining and tips for success.
Navigating the changes in our day-to-day lives because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak can be difficult, as there are many unknowns surrounding this virus and how it will affect us in the long and short term. During this time, many people have found themselves working from home, where the pressures of children, pets, and finding a quiet place to work are ever-present. With approximately 415 employees operating domestically, Antea Group understands that working from home comes with both benefits and challenges. Taking the necessary steps to find your work-life balance is essential to getting through these unusual times.
Our sustainability team members share their personal experiences working from home, give you their best tips, and focus on the silver lining they have found in their new day-to-day lives. We applaud our employees for discovering the good within the chaos and hope you can share in their positivity. It is a challenging time, but we are all in this together! Read more to meet some of your sustainability team members and see how they are living their quarantined life:
Communities Coming Together
Julie: Navigating this challenging time, in some ways, is bringing us closer together as COVID-19 is our common thread. Communities are coming together virtually – in my own neighborhood we now have a very active chat group and are helping each other out with groceries, ideas, and materials for home-schooling. As I was out for a walk recently, my heart was filled with love when I saw a table overflowing with toilet paper, canned goods, pasta, and a sign that said, “Take what you need, or share what you can.”
Being at home with my two children, while overwhelming at times, has strengthened my relationship with my husband as we must be a strong team to maintain work and home responsibilities. As we have been home for almost a month, I have already seen my children’s (7-years-old and 4-years-old) writing and reading improve! They are excited about science experiments, arts and crafts, planting our garden, and writing letters to friends and family.
While I am working odd hours, I am blessed to work with such supportive colleagues who have been checking in and making efforts to do video calls, even virtual karaoke! I find that connecting via video calls daily with coworkers, friends, and family has been my saving grace.
Julie’s tip for working from home: I keep my sanity in check by having a schedule, getting fresh air, and incorporating some form of exercise daily, even if it is just a 10-minute ab workout or a walk around the neighborhood.
Outpouring of Support For People & Small Businesses
Charlie: Living in a college town (Fort Collins, CO) and being married to a small business owner has allowed me to see the economic impacts and devastation of this pandemic in very concrete ways. Friends in the service industry have been completely out of work since early March. Students are entering the workforce at an incredibly uncertain time. My wife’s business revenue dropped 85% almost overnight!
But, the amazing part has been the outpouring of support within the community. I have been humbled to see the lengths people will go to help others, and I have had the joy of participating in some of these efforts. There is a website where you can tip your local servers and bartenders when you make yourself a drink at home. There are business owners who are taking the financial risk of keeping their employees paid during this crisis even as normal work streams have disappeared (my wife is one of these owners, keeping her 4 employees employed!). There are food rescues that are giving away food for free (or for a donation if you can afford it ) that would otherwise be discarded. There are many more examples, but these are some that I have been able to witness personally and within my own community. I know we are not through the woods yet, but these things give me hope that we are going to be alright.
Charlie’s tip for working from home: My number one tip is to set up an ergonomic workspace. My productivity increased dramatically when I was able to bring my office chair, sit/stand desk, and dual monitors to my house. But more importantly, I have seen a marked improvement in my physical comfort throughout my workday. Working from the couch may be nice for a day or two, but it can have significant negative impacts even over the short-term.
Finding a New Normal & Practicing Gratitude
Carolyn: The first week working from home was an adjustment trying to proceed with business as usual when things were, in fact, far from usual. Now, I’ve worked myself into a wonderful cadence where I do morning work at my makeshift kitchen desk until early afternoon, then when the sun comes through the other side of my apartment, I temporarily relocate to the living room to drink tea and answer emails. I’m using extra evening time at home as an opportunity to get small organization and spring cleaning tasks complete so when we can get back out to the mountains for camping and hiking weekends, I’ll have no excuses to delay! Also, my house plants have never been so loved.
Carolyn’s tip for working from home: Practice gratitude. For everything that might be negative at the moment, find a reason to be thankful. Spotty wi-fi during conference calls? I am lucky enough to have a job I can perform from home. Neighbors learning to play Wonderwall on their guitar at 2 p.m. every day? At least it’s not drums! Finding moments of gratitude in difficult times helps put things into perspective and focus on our physical and mental health until the light at the end of the tunnel becomes a little brighter.
Taking Family & Pet Breaks
Nick Martin has been with Antea Group for 14 years and leads the Sustainability Practice and is also Executive Director of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER). He lives in Denver, CO with his wife, two kids, and two dogs.
Nick: My wife and I both have a lot of experience working from home over our professional careers, so that has helped us a lot including having an office space already set up. Our kids are also fairly self-sufficient teenagers and have rolled with the situation quite well. They stay connected with friends online, texting, and video chatting. They started distance learning recently, which added a new twist but seems to be breaking up the monotony of their days in some ways and providing some structure. I think our dogs have struggled most and seem to look at us as if they are thinking, “are you ever going to leave the house again?” They are getting a little exhausted having people home and making noise all day long!
Nick’s tip for working from home: One tip for working at home is to get up periodically and take breaks. It is not healthy for your mind or body to sit at a desk for eight hours straight. In the office, you tend to get up more to talk with colleagues, attend meetings, go to the printer, etc. I mix in walking our dogs and shooting hoops with my boys for a few minutes just to reset before moving on to a new task.
Focusing on Health & Wellness:
Eric Tu joined Antea Group within the last year and works on the sustainability team as the Facility Optimization service line leader. He is out of our Loveland, CO office and is focusing on his health and wellness at home.
Eric: I have worked from home for the past 10 years, so it hasn’t been as big of a change for me. One positive – I set up a yoga studio in my basement, now I can do yoga whenever I want!
Eric’s tip for working from home: Do not work hours just because it is convenient, including the weekends when you are bored. Turn off your computer after the workday. Take a lunch break, take 5-10 minutes for a break every 2 hours, call someone (don’t text) as if a co-worker came by to talk to you.
Staying with Family Across the Country
Maggie Tarsel has worked for Antea Group for five months and is located out of the Denver, CO office. She works on various projects within the Sustainability Practice, including corporate sustainability reporting and benchmarking.
Maggie: Working from home has proven to be both challenging and exciting for me, as this is my first job post-graduate school, and I certainly did not expect to be quarantined during my first months at Antea Group. However, this experience presented me the opportunity to go home to Upstate NY and work from my mom’s home! I am so thankful to have gotten this opportunity as this has allowed me to spend more time with my parents, my older sister, and my dog, Boo Radley, who I missed dearly!
Despite being new to Antea Group, I have noticed even more how much this company cares about one another. Because my teammates continue to check on me via Skype and even plan virtual happy hours, I feel welcomed and supported despite the lack of in-person interaction. My mom always told me that you can tell the people that care about you because they are the ones that support you in difficult times and I think after being in this experience, I see the truth in that statement tenfold.
Maggie’s tip for working from home: Given all the distractions that come with working from home, I try to practice the Pomodoro Method at times when I really can’t focus. The idea is you work for twenty-five productive minutes, then take a 5-minute break. I do forty-five productive minutes and then a 5-minute break, and it helps me completely focus on the task at hand and be my most productive self at home.
Have you found the silver lining in your new day-to-day reality? Connect with any of these sustainability team members by clicking on their name above to share your story or connect with us on LinkedIn.
Learn more about our sustainability services or contact us today
Want more news and insights like this?
Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, The New Leaf. Our goal is to keep you updated, educated and even a bit entertained as it relates to all things EHS and sustainability.Get e-Newsletter