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 Rachel Bruce, an Environmental Scientist in our Philadelphia office.
What does a standard day look like for you now that you are working from home?
I wake up around 6:30-6:45AM and typically start my day by either going for a run or practicing yoga. I watch the news while making breakfast, usually eggs and avocado toast.
I update my letterboard with a new number to show how many days we have been quarantining. It’s a simple task that’s helped me keep track of the days.
By 8, I have my coffee at the kitchen table – my “office space” – and start checking emails. I jump on a daily call around 8:30 with the New Jersey Environmental Team to go over workload and project updates.
By lunchtime, if it’s a nice day, my boyfriend and I will go for a walk around town (while social distancing), and I’ll usually call or FaceTime friends and family members to check in with them. If it’s rainy, I'll curl up on the couch, eat lunch, and try to cram in a few chapters of whatever book I’m reading.
As the afternoon rolls into evening, I start planning dinner so when both my boyfriend and I finish work we can cook together. After dinner, we make progress on half-finished puzzles, play Nintendo Switch, or watch an episode (or three) of "Ozark."
How does your new routine compare to a typical workday in the office?
While my wake-up time isn’t much different, instead of rushing about in the morning to get ready and catch my train or drive into the office, my morning process is slower and more deliberate. I accomplish a lot in that first hour and a half of the day before I’ve even started working, which really motivates me to jump into my day and be productive.
Working from home means that you need to be more conscious and clear in communication efforts. I find that I’m more likely to make a calls now that I’m at home rather than sending emails or just popping over to someone’s desk.
How has McCormick Taylor supported your transition to working from home?
I think company leadership and the information technology team did a great job transitioning the company to a work-from-home situation. I appreciate the continual updates from the COVID-19 Task Force as well as Pat and Jim, especially with the COVID-19 situation changing so rapidly. My daily/weekly conference calls with both the Philly and New Jersey Environmental teams have helped to create a sense of routine and support while we all navigate this challenging time.
What has been your favorite part of working from home so far?
I like the flexibility and that I’m able to reclaim some of my personal time. I’ve tried to utilize the time I typically spent getting ready for work and commuting work on personal development goals and household tasks (i.e., lots of cleaning and sanitizing).
What has been the most challenging aspect of working from home?
I miss the daily, unplanned interactions with coworkers. Whether it's swapping stories about weekend plans over coffee or bumping into a coworker in the hallway and getting a few impromptu project-related questions answered, there’s a spontaneity of office life that cannot be easily replicated from home. That being said, this time has challenged me to be more intentional and deliberate in communicating both at work and in my personal life.
What's something new that you have learned during this time?
It’s not necessarily something new, but rather something I’ve always known and now appreciate more fully: I need movement in my life. Staying active has really helped me mentally and emotionally during this time. I started using a running training app and doing yoga almost every day. One of my goals is to be able to do crow pose!
How are you staying connected to your coworkers?
I’ve been in touch with coworkers periodically over social media or through Fuze chats during the day. I’ve really enjoyed seeing people’s posts in the new company-wide chat and hearing how everyone is coping during this time.
What’s the first thing you want to do when you return to the office?
Finally see everyone in person and catch up! And then sit in my office chair, which is MUCH more comfortable than my kitchen chair.