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 Chris Gross, Manager of Information Technology in our Philadelphia office.
What does a standard day look like for your now that you are working from home?
I start my day by letting my dog outside and drinking coffee. I’ll turn on my laptop, read my emails, make sure there are no network warnings, and then check in to the HelpDesk queue.
Around 9, I’ll make sure my boys are awake, showered, etc. and then get them cracking on their schoolwork. I’ll check in on them throughout the day, making sure they complete all assignments. They usually tend to themselves. Being 12 and 15 they either eat everything I have in the house or nothing at all.
After my workday is over, I’ll switch over to getting my schoolwork done. I’ll see what assignments I must complete and start working on them. At some point, I’ll start cooking and enjoy a nice sit-down dinner with my boys. They will usually help me clean up before they retreat to their rooms to play Fortnite or whatever game happens to be the flavor of the month. I’ll go back to working on my schoolwork until it’s time for bed.
How does your new routine compare to a typical workday in the office?
My new routine is very similar, although saving a couple of hours each day by not having to commute to work is a great thing. I find that I’m able to focus on more tasks because of this increase in available time. The challenge is mixing in having to help my boys complete their schoolwork in between the projects, conference calls, etc.
How has McCormick Taylor supported your transition to working from home?
Being in IT, even before the pandemic, having the ability to work remotely was critical for continued operations. We would often need to remotely log into servers and other assets to perform routine maintenance at odd hours, so not much has changed for us in that aspect. However, supporting the entire staff in its transition to a work from home environment presented many challenges. Overcoming these challenges allowed us to stretch our legs and implement upgrades to meet the requirements of having an all remotely working staff.
What has been your favorite part of working from home so far?
A small part of me wants to say not having a two hour commute every day, but the best part of working from home is being able to spend more time with my kids. I’m able to converse with them throughout the day, give and receive hugs (which are always great), and spend more time with them in the evening. Even though assisting them in home schooling is difficult, this is a great opportunity to have a firsthand part in their education that wasn’t possible before. I have also gained a new appreciation for their teachers; they do a phenomenal job!
What has been the most challenging aspect of working from home?
Adjusting to a new work-life balance has been challenging. From making sure I complete all my tasks and projects to ensuring my children are getting all their schoolwork done, there was a big learning curve at first. It took some time to figure things out, but I think I’ve found the balance for everyone to get their work done.
Tell us about your new “coworkers,” whether they’re children, pets, roommates, etc.
I share my workspace with three wonderful boys! My two sons, Christian and Dylan, are in 9th and 6th grade, respectively. I also have a four-legged boy, my 12-year-old beagle, Doogie. They are all good to come down and give me hugs and love when I need it!
What’s something new that you have learned during this time?
Having time at home has given me the opportunity to complete the LEGO Millennium Falcon (over 7,500 pieces) with my boys, along with being able to setup and rearrange my “geek” display in my living room. My kids and I are huge Marvel, Star Wars, and LEGO fans.
How are you staying connected to your coworkers?
I find myself in constant communication with my group via Fuze, whether it be through messaging or voice calls. We use it constantly to discuss different initiatives and projects, talk about some challenges that we are facing, or problems that we’ve overcome. It’s just a fantastic tool—I don’t know how we operated without it!
What’s the first thing you want to do when you return to the office?
I will be certain to enjoy the peace and quiet of my office, engage in a face-to-face conversation, and catch up with my coworkers. It will be a nice change of pace from the constant chaos going on in the background.