The office looks a little different this year. Instead of working amongst high rises and the DART trains’ frequent ding-ding, we’re working from home in kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms. Our conference room is now a Zoom grid filled with various stock backgrounds – space, the beach, a football stadium.
It’s been about seven months since Monkeytag, like so many other companies, made the transition to begin working from home due to COVID-19 precautionary measures. Fortunately, we were already structured for remote working capabilities, so that piece of the puzzle was easy to find. Beyond the day-to-day, we’ve had to figure out a few other ways to adjust to this “new normal.”
Our creative director, Lindsey Goldstein, noticed when some of her direct team mentioned feeling disconnected during the quarantine. Her solution? She organized a virtual daily coffee chat.
“I thought a good way to mitigate those feelings was to replicate what we used to do in the office each morning, which was talk while we got our coffee,” Lindsey said. “Doing it over video chat was less organic, and I was worried it’d feel forced, so I also added that we could share what we were working on each day to fall back on if we ran out of things to talk about. So far, we really haven’t had that problem, and our chats regularly get cut off by the Zoom 40-minute time limit.”
Lindsey said the calls have allowed her to learn a lot about her team and even helped to onboard a new designer who started with us in April.
“I think it has brought us closer as a team and given people that maybe didn’t feel like they could always insert themselves into naturally forming conversations at the office the ability to participate,” she said. “I know some of us to feel really alone right now, so the calls help provide connection outside of who we see daily at home. I feel like I will continue doing a standing meeting even if we go back to the office that’s as informal as these are.”
As a company, we’ve also made it a point to schedule safe outdoor meetups so that we could still celebrate the big life moments together, like graduations, birthdays, and engagements. We’ve done smaller team meetups and even organized a group hike.
We’ve taken this time to learn with each other, exploring new strategies and tactics within e-commerce, sales enablement, digital ads, and UX design. All while getting on a first-name basis with each other’s pets.
Slowly, “working from home” has positively transitioned to “working from anywhere.” Our staff has operated from all parts of the country, enjoying more time with loved ones. One of our graphic designers, Kelly Wetherbee, has frequently traveled to Bend, Oregon.
“Work from anywhere allows me to continue to work for a company I love while getting to explore cities that I would never be able to live – smaller cities without a huge amount of job opportunities,” Kelly said. “It’s also beneficial because I’m at a lower risk of catching COVID in a small town than I am going to the grocery store in Dallas. I have a much better work-life balance because being in a different time zone, I am off most days by 3 pm, leaving me plenty of time to hike, camp, and explore.”
The change of scenery has kept Kelly inspired creatively and also served to decrease stress.
“I have found that I produce better work when I have that time to step away from the computer and experience the world in a different way,” she said. “It has also allowed me to spend more time with my family. My husband and I travel together, and while we understand airplanes can feel risky during these times, we take every precaution to minimize the possibility of exposure.”
COVID-19 has undoubtedly been a disrupter in 2020. But through all these ways, as a company, we’re making this year (safely) work for us whether you are working from home or working from anywhere.