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 Katie Ellis, a Water Resources Designer in our Columbia, SC office.
What does a standard day look like for you now that you are working from home?
I’ve actually been work from home since my first day at McCormick Taylor three years ago! I’m technically part of the Columbia office, but I work remotely from Charleston, about 2 hours away.
For the past three months, days typically look like this: I wake up when my alarms (either my son, Ben, or toy poodle, Winnie) start demanding attention, usually between 6-6:30 am. My husband and I go through the morning routine to get everyone fed, cleaned up, and dressed. Then, one of us will drop the kids off with grandparents for the day. We are really, really grateful to have had their support through this time with schools and daycares closed.
I try to squeeze in a workout either right after getting the kids dropped off or in the middle of the day, depending on meetings. If it’s not too hot and buggy, we’ll go for a walk with the kids around the neighborhood before dinner. We plan to eat around 6:30 and get kids bathed and in bed by 8. I like to wind down watching something funny like the monologues from the previous night’s late shows with Stephen Colbert or Seth Meyers and/or reading a book. I'm currently reading A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold.
On weekends, we’re trying to get out of the house and to enjoy the beauty of the SC Lowcountry. We live close to rivers, the beach, and about 20 minutes from the Francis Marion National Forest. I took my daughter to check out flowering pitcher plants in a Carolina bay in April.
How has McCormick Taylor supported your transition to working from home?
I am incredibly grateful for my flexible, 30-hours-a-week work schedule. I have more time to spend with my kids in the morning and afternoon, which is great for me, but also so important in this time when their normal school/daycare schedules have been upended. It is great to have that support all the way up the chain of leadership in the company.
I also want to give a shoutout to our IT and Marketing departments for doing an excellent job keeping work running smoothly and helping keep us all connected during this time!
What has been your favorite part of working from home so far?
I love my 20-second commute from my bedroom to my office while wearing comfy clothes. I like being able to work while my dog is curled up at my feet. It’s also been easier to make healthy decisions because we don’t eat out very often and can make time for exercise.
What has been the most challenging aspect of working from home?
The main WFH challenge during the COVID crisis has been having three extra “co-workers” at home! My husband and I share an office space, so we have to coordinate when each of us has a conference call so we’re not talking over each other. Usually one of us voluntarily exiles him or herself to another part of the house. From March until the end of May, we were also trying to keep up with the homeschooling requirements for our daughter, Emma. We’re thankful that she was given relatively low-key assignments. We practiced reading and writing and had twice weekly Zoom meetings with her kindergarten class. You have not truly experienced the full joy of a Zoom meeting until you’ve seen a group of 20 five-year-olds and their teacher reunited virtually during a pandemic.
Tell us about your new “coworkers,” whether they’re children, pets, roommates, etc.
Winnie the poodle, age 13: loves belly rubs, steals unattended food, sleeps on the job, but otherwise takes her guard dog duties very seriously!
Ben, 17 months: Some of his hobbies include emptying bins to dump contents on floor and wiggling/dancing to any music. He may need a refresher on McCormick Taylor's workplace safety policies (he’s a climber!).
Emma: 6 years old: She’s already a video conferencing pro (she’s transitioned well to having her ballet classes in a virtual format. However, she has been known to crash a few of my Fuze meetings). A budding entomologist, she is currently “raising” butterflies and ladybug larvae in our living room and dining room and waiting for praying mantis eggs to hatch in her room.
Robert, husband: Software engineer for the Department of the Navy. Chef de Cuisine in our household. You can see him at his desk in the background of all my Fuze or Zoom video conference calls.