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Creatively Working Through COVID Part 11

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Thanks, Drew — you have a beautiful family; I can’t believe Everly is already 7 months! It feels like yesterday that the birth announcement was sent out. I have really enjoyed reading the blogs in this series and learning about the personal lives of some of our co-workers, specifically how they are managing during this unique time in our lives. As challenging as this has been, it’s comforting to know we are all going through it together!

Tell us about the quirks of your new co-workers.

Ha! Well, I can certainly share the quirks of my new co-workers (though, I know they would be happy to share some quirks about me).

We live in Frisco, TX, about 30 minutes north of Dallas. Recently, Frisco was ranked the Best US City to Live in . In an effort to escape Midwest winters, we relocated four years ago from Illinois; not only is the weather better here in Frisco, but it’s also been great for our family. Don’t get me wrong, we continue to be die hard Chicago sports fans, and my husband (Kenny) thoroughly enjoys that we can continue to follow Chicago sports while enjoying everything that Dallas has to offer.

(For all you sports fans: Frisco is home to the Dallas Cowboys Headquarters and training facility, the MLS Soccer team, the RoughRiders (Rangers AA baseball team), the Stars training facility, and the new PGA headquarters. It’s no surprise we are raising two athletes.)

Speaking of my children, Evan (age 12) is going into 7th grade, while Austin (age 10) is going into 5th grade. They are not always the most conscientious co-workers, and I have learned to expertly manage the mute button on calls. My husband and I have tried to keep them active during the summer, despite the COVID-related challenges. Our Business Development team put together a couple newsletters with some great activities for kids. Here are the two newsletters for any parents looking for inspiration: Tech for Kids 1 and Tech for Kids 2!

My kids enjoyed the Star Wars game, and some of the beginner coding games. This provided a nice respite from the typical video games, and arguing with each other! This time is tough for everyone, and especially challenging for (typically very active) children of this age group. As far as school is concerned, we start (virtually) in 2 weeks. The district has proactively announced that the first 3 weeks will be entirely virtual. Every parent across the globe has challenging decisions to make regarding whether to send their children to school, or to pursue virtual learning. The decision of whether or not to physically send their child to school is just one reminder of the stress factors we have faced outside of the workplace; it’s now more than ever that we need to support each other.

As for my own quirks: now that I am home all the time, it has become evident I am not good at remembering to turn off the lights. My kids will go around the house saying “the light is on in the closet, mom has been here!” (This is something I am working on.)

E-Learning in our household. Bring your kid to work day… Or maybe bring your mom to school??

Describe your new normal.

After traveling almost every week for the past 5 years, being home for 4 consecutive months has been an abrupt change. Fortunately for me, I have always been a remote employee, so conference calls and zoom meetings are the norm. However, I do believe the “video fatigue” is real. Here at Appian, we started a new wellness challenge this week, where every employee is challenged to log 20 minutes of exercise a day. I am using this as an opportunity to promote “walk and talk” — call a coworker and go on a walk!

Despite mourning the pause on work travel, I am thankful for this extensive time at home. My boys are at a great age, I love watching them play soccer, and have been able (and available!) to bring them to practices during the week. We are also able to watch tv shows and movies together as a family; we just finished the whole series of The Office. Fortunately, they haven’t hit the age where they are embarrassed by mom and want nothing to do with me. :) I have even gotten them to go on some nature hikes!

Looking toward the future, I hope that I am able to look back on this time and feel I made the most of it with my co-workers, my family, friends, and myself. We are all just trying to manage through this difficulty with some level of sanity.

What do you miss about the office?

I really miss seeing the team, and meeting with customers (in-person). We have worked hard to stay connected through virtual happy hours and individual lunch meetings, but, it’s not the same as when we could get everyone physically together. There really is something special about having everyone together, in-person, sharing best practices, collaborating on challenges, and celebrating success. It’s hard to recreate this “buzz” virtually.

Central Region Team at our Sales Kick Off

Watching or reading anything new?

This is probably where I am supposed to reference all of the great leadership books and documentaries I’ve read and watched! ;) I have to come clean: I finally started Game of Thrones, all 72 hours of it!! I succumbed to the hype, and have also admitted to myself that we have a ways to go with the pandemic before things are back to normal, so now was the time to start making a dent in my “watch list.”

As for continuing the “Creatively working through COVID” series, I would like to nominate long-time Appianite Chris Wherry in honor of his upcoming birthday next week!