Skip to main content

Creatively Working Through COVID Part 7

Zach Zach Kahn

Headerimg (5)

Thanks for the challenge Adam! It was nice reading about how you and your family are adapting to the current times. I hope you can get back to HQ soon.

For the past two years I’ve been working remotely from Los Angeles, so overall my professional life hasn’t been altered too much. However, my in-person social circle has been reduced to just my family.

Masks worn to hide secret identities


I try to go over to my family’s house as often as I can, and find myself appreciating our moments together more than ever before. We like to watch Jeopardy and try to guess the answers before the contestants do, tell bad jokes (my dad and I literally have a captive audience), play games, or we just hang out and find something to stream. I also go to my grandparent’s backyard and talk to them from a safe distance.

(Left) Luna, (Right) Sonny

In addition to the humans I like to spend time with, I also enjoy playing with the family dogs: Luna and Sonny. Luna has her own quirks like jumping at the tv when a dog is on it, catching anything (balls, food, dandelion seeds, etc.) mid-air for an hour nonstop, and being oddly terrified of anything with wheels. She has a lot of personality. Sonny is a puppy and just likes to eat whatever he can get his paws on, dig holes despite my mom’s protests, and cuddle up with everyone right on their lap. If they get any quirkier, an Instagram account may be warranted #SonnyAndTheLunatic.

After working for home for two years, I have created strategies to make myself more efficient and improve the experience. I rely heavily on online collaboration tools to track tasks and outline different agendas and notes. I have dedicated a portion of my home to work in, which I find helps shift the mental focus when I enter and leave that space. I try to keep distractions to a minimum, but adapt if something comes up.

I think the most important skill for a remote employee to build is to be mindful of a work/life balance. It’s important to recognize it’s ok to step away from the computer to recharge and come back fully present when ready. I actually prefer working from home because I have control over the temperature, don’t have crosstalk from other conference calls, and have easy access to my fridge… it’s too easy when I want a snack!

It’s also been quite an adjustment getting used to the idea of not seeing anyone for a while. However, my friends and colleagues have managed to stay in touch through video chat.

Appian West Region Happy Hour


It’s been fun incorporating different games into the mix. The above picture is a glimpse into one of many game nights with my Appian colleagues — this one was virtual JackBox. I’ve also been playing Mario Kart online with friends, and FaceTiming at the same time to make it more competitive. I’ve participated in more remote birthdays and happy hours than I can count, and despite being locked down, life has continued. I’ve been impressed by how creative everyone is at coming up with activities to stay connected.

Wait, how much yeast was I supposed to use again?


When I’m not catching up with people online, I’m usually spending my time on something ridiculous. I love photoshopping images for a quick laugh (@ me for some zany Zoom background ideas). I’m likely also nerding out and building a robot on my dining room table, attempting home workouts, and jokes aside, I am slowly getting better at cooking. My food is almost edible now!

As a work from home homie™, my day-to-day hasn’t changed much. What I miss is traveling to client locations to strengthen relationships, holding meetings in-person, and shaking things up from the normal routine. I can’t complain about being stuck in LA, but I am looking forward to when it’s safe again to get back on the road.

I try to align my reading to books that cover current topics or touch on relevant themes. In the past couple of months I’ve read:

  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic
  • Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
  • Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization
  • The Great Believers

I’ve also been reading more financial news since my friends and I have started participating in a weekly “Fantasy Stock League” where we try to pick stocks that will have the largest value increase during that time period. From all my research one thing’s for sure: the stock market will either go up or down.

I’d like to go across the country and departments and challenge Lizzie Rubenfield, Product Manager from Solutions based in NYC, to share how she’s adapting to the new normal. Hey Lizzie, how’s everything going back East?!


Written by

Zach Kahn

Zach Kahn is a Principal Consultant at Appian.