McCormick Taylor employees have transitioned into the new normal of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the changes, our staff finds ways to stay productive, healthy, and connected. Below is a day in the life of Amanda Shafer, a Web Designer III in our Harrisburg, PA office.
What does a standard day look like for your now that you are working from home?
I had to set up a home office because I didn’t have anything like that. At first, my husband and I were both working in the basement, which made for a somewhat hectic and chaotic workspace. Now I have my own standing desk setup in the living room, while he has an office in the spare room.
How does your new routine compare to a typical workday in the office?
I would say, overall, my day is a little more flexible since I’m working from home. I never had a very long commute. I’d always tease my coworkers in the office that they were seeing me within 45 minutes of waking up because I was that close. Now it can be more like 15!
I’m not a morning person, so I usually get up just in time to get to my computer at 8:00. I have been making eggs and toast for breakfast in the morning which is a nice difference from the oatmeal I made in the office.
Around 11, I usually take an early lunch so I can get some exercise. I’m a huge video game fan, so I have two games – Just Dance 2020 and RingFit on the Switch – that help me stay accountable. They’re also ridiculously fun.
Then it’s a shower, lunch, and back to work. Having that break in the middle of the day really helps me stay focused and relaxed for the rest of the day.
What has been your favorite part of working from home so far?
Every day is a casual Friday! I like being able to wear jeans and t-shirts most of the time. There’s always the obligatory nice dress shirt when on an important meeting (most likely coupled with yoga pants).
What has been the most challenging aspect of working from home?
I currently have two foster kittens at home who are constantly demanding attention. They also don’t understand the concept of a workspace. I’ve sent far too many, “Oops...sorry, kitten” messages through Fuze after one inadvertently steps on my keyboard.
Tell us about your new “coworkers,” whether they’re children, pets, roommates, etc.
See above! I have two foster cats, Asimov and Bradbury, in addition to my four cats, Hobbes, Mabel, Luna, and Six. The older cats for the most part couldn’t be bothered by the fact that we are home all the time. But my new coworkers insist on breaking into fights on the floor, walking all over my keyboard, and talking incessantly at me about nothing in particular.
What’s something new that you have learned during this time?
I’ve always sewn, but I started to make masks for friends and family who need them. I also have learned how to use Open Broadcast System (OBS), software that lets you combine multiple sources into one camera for broadcast over the internet. I’ve been doing this to run some board and card games with my friends while we’re social distancing.
How are you staying connected to your coworkers?
We stay in constant contact through Fuze and having video conferences definitely helps you feel connected. We’ve had to have a few virtual birthday parties since we can't celebrate with lunch at a restaurant like we normally do.
What’s the first thing you want to do when you return to the office?
Put all my plants back at my desk! I’ve had to leave a bunch of my plants outside so my cats wouldn’t get into them. They didn’t do so well with the cool weather in March. It’ll be nice to be surrounded by them again. However, I will say my Venus fly trap is doing well at home. The cats must be afraid of their mouths.