As Denver South’s Transportation Management Association, we have long advocated for teleworking and flexible work initiatives as potential congestion mitigation strategies. Fast forward five weeks and you may feel as if your organization has been launched into a new world of webinars, Skypes, Slack and Zoom meetings to stay engaged and up and running during the shelter-in-place orders. As we all strive to do the right thing working from home, we want you to know we are in this with you. Candor is one of our organization’s core values. In this blog we share our candid collective experiences of what we as an organization and as individuals are experiencing, enjoying and struggling with as we work in our new remote working worlds. These are the faces of Denver South—teleworking, facing new challenges and leaning into our “new norms” as an organization, just as you may be experiencing.
Denver South’s CEO Tom Brook has been our dynamic and consistent leader during this time of unprecedented uncertainty. He has previously managed a large staff before, but “this”is a new management challenge in an unfamiliar territory. Tom strives to make just the right amount of touchpoints with each of us, while challenging us to be creative, inspired and comfortable with being uncomfortable. He misses being in a room with his colleagues as he relies on body language and face-to-face interactions to read the room. Tom’s biggest concern is the team’s ability to maintain boundaries and to not let work become a round the clock part of everyone’s lives. Bonus, his 15-year old dog is getting plenty of walks as a break from excessive screen time. Eric is still struggling with his unstructured shower schedule, but overall finds his use of his time to be far more efficient with less time in the car and less non-essential meetings. Chris is an open introvert. She misses the energy of all of us that helps her tap into her creativity and the ability to focus. She also does not miss her commute.
Evan, who frequently advocates for teleworking initiatives during our transportation planning calls, unapologetically appreciates saving money on hair care products and enjoying his feline companionship as he teleworks from home. Becky, Scott and I have also come to understand it’s ok to lean into our pets for a squeeze as they can provide us all with a much-needed hug from time to time.
Scott shares some great advice about being around your loved ones full-time; set some clear boundaries!Scott also exemplifies practicing our organization’s core values during this time of reduced interpersonal interaction.
Even our eating patterns have changed. As breakfast bleeds into lunch, sometimes we forget to eat, while some of us feel as if we are eating all day. Jake loves his new norm of having breakfast, lunch and dinner with his wife and two young children every day. We are all rethinking racing out to grab something quick as our kitchens are now a 24/7 luxury, or perhaps a curse. My sanity tip from a mother of three demanding teenagers—I have a set a firm Monday through Friday noon check-in/slash “what do we want for lunch” appointment to unplug from our screens and ensure the diet doesn’t consist of only cereal and ramen. And yes, I too love my nonexistent commute, as I have only had to fill my gas tank once in four weeks!
Erin, who is working tirelessly to push out COVID-19 content on our website’s resource page, shares that it’s important to set mental and physical boundaries. She reminds us that it’s all too easy to work all day and dive back in at night. Balance is key. She encourages jumping on Zoom calls to engage with your team to confirm clarity on communication. Alex has also recognized that we are a more efficient, albeit physically disconnected team, noting many meetings of the past should have been emails and or quick Zooms to connect. She recognizes that she is getting headaches and eye strain from excessive screen time and her inability to unplug.
Another perk, Daniel has not ironed a shirt in at least a month and he too appreciates multiple breaks to walk his dog and mow his lawn. But he feels as if he’s always “on” and admits he loses track of time!
Daniel too, appreciates his one-minute commute, ten minutes if he showers.
There are obvious reasons as to why several of us are not teachers, Becky Nelson and me included. While Becky is struggling with Common Core Math, and mandatory Physical Education, I am relying on my Junior to assist my 7thgrader in times of a math crisis.
Candidly speaking, work life separation is a challenge for all of us. On the bright side, the forced pause from normalcy has encouraged all of us to take a personal and professional inventory of our lives, our work and the relationships that we have at home and in the office. We cannot wait to be reunited in person, however this experience has helped us recognize the strength of our team and the entire Denver South region. We are in this with you!