R&W is Working Remotely
2020 has been turbulent, unpredictable, and uncertain. What we all hoped would be only a few months of quarantine has shifted to form a new way of life. Even now, the regular ins and outs of life remain uncertain. However, even with the changes to our daily life, R&W Engineering remains in business. Projects are still in various stages of progress. New projects have been coming in. But the most notable change in all of this has been R&W’s shift to working remotely. Since the last week of March, following Governor Brown’s Shelter-In-Place order, all R&W staff have been working remotely.
But how are R&W’s staff members fairing long term in this working remote situation? I asked around to see how people were doing and found there have been some challenges as well as a lot of success. Most of the challenges have revolved around adjusting to the limitations of working from home. As one person said, “One of the early work arounds was getting used to doing markups in Bluebeam rather than relying on pen and paper.” Having limited access to the office makes aspects of work challenging and adjusting to the digital platforms takes time. Another employee said, “A good amount of my work is doing things around the office so I’m having to shift that work over to archiving.” Adjusting to the at-home workload has been complicated at times, but we have also been learning and growing.
Using online communication platforms, like Microsoft Teams, has made communication much easier. Features like Screen Share mimic the in-office ability to go to someone’s desk to see what’s on their screen. Teams is also available as a mobile app. This allows us to chat with or call coworkers directly, making communication much easier and almost like being in the office. One employee said, “I have grown in my knowledge and comfort on web meetings and working remotely on screen-share with fellow employees.” They were also able to set up a remote site visit for a project out of state.
Other things that have helped staff members have been working at an in-home office rather than at the dining room table and bringing their work chair home from the office. One coworker said, “The other thing that has helped is using a remote local drive that I can download all the stuff from the network I need but it doesn’t bog down the memory in my laptop. When we start returning to the office eventually, the drive is portable and will be easy to bring to the office with me.” Another said, “I’m very frequently on Teams for chatting about projects, video calls with co-workers, and meetings with clients. The in/out board is a great help in figuring out who is around or when someone will be back.” We’ve been making the remote access work for us as much as we can, and so far with great success.
And there are certainly other perks to working from home. One coworker mentioned, “I enjoy the relaxation and comfort of working from home…I coparent two dogs with my mom and they love getting mad that I’m right there but won’t play with them.” Another coworker and his family just adopted two kittens. Another coworker said that he’s an uncle for the 12th time (wow!), and that his new niece was born so quickly, her parents didn’t make it to the hospital and she was delivered at home (double wow!). Mother and daughter are both healthy, he said. That is exciting news, and we wish all congratulations to his family!
We are curious to know when we will again make our way to the office for work. We even have a contest for employees to guess when Washington County will enter Phase II, allowing us to resume in-office work. The guesses range from mid-September through the end of January of next year. But until then, whenever that might be, we will make the best of where we are. We are determined to keep working. We are dedicated to our clients. And we will keep working hard during this time so that you can rely on us.