Note: This originally appeared in the Summer 2020 edition of URFA Update. You can read it in its entirety here.
Since the middle of March, the majority of URFA members have been working from their homes in makeshift offices. This has brought new challenges for members, who found themselves having to figure out how to move their offices to their homes while learning new digital platforms and programs, all while dealing with family, child care, and other household issues that come with a global pandemic.
At URFA, we were curious as to how members were adjusting to this new normal. How were members maintaining a work/life balance when both work and life are now intertwined? We decided to ask members- but to make it a little different from our usual member surveys. Instead, we asked members to send us photos of their remote workspaces, and answer a few questions about what their experiences have been like. URFA then drew three names from all who submitted entires, and sent coffee and treats delivered to their new workplace, courtesy of URFA.
Thank you to the dozens of URFA members who entered. Congratulations to Kelly-Ann McLeod (U of R APT), Keaneena Agecoutay (FNUniv APT), and Tim Maciag (U of R Academic) whose names were drawn for the prize.
Below, you’ll find some quotes from URFA members who shared their experiences working from home with us. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges, but URFA members continue to rise to the occasion, ensuring the contiuned success of our institutions. We hope to see you all back on campus soon.
On the challenges of remote working:
“I miss my colleagues more than I realized I would. I mean, I knew I would miss them, but I really didn’t know how much I would miss them.”
-Wendy Tebb (UR APT)
“The main challenge is just staying connected with people. So, our team has created Zoom
chat rooms, including a Zoom coffee break room, where occasionally we get together and just
casually talk, with no agenda and no work driving the conversations. This is where we maintain our
connections on a personal level, and bring back the social elements that several of us are missing.”
-Amanda Noubarian (U of R APT)
“The biggest challenge is connecting with students… working with students on a daily basis I can tell that students are feeling less connected to campus.”
-Victoria Johnson (U of R APT)
“Using Zoom for music teaching is far from adequate because of poor audio quality. Unless both instructor and student have a good microphone and strong internet, it’s very difficult to teach a really thorough one-on-one music lesson, which is a large part of my workload.”
-Helen Pridmore (U of R Academic)
“The biggest challenge is adapting to meet the needs of constant change. Working with employers and students remotely, means taking extra time to reach out and access situations we have
not encountered before…”
-Deanna Selin (U of R APT)
On the unexpected benefits of remote
“I feel more rested, and have been very focused.”
-Rebbecca Coppens (UR APT)
“ I am able to spend more time with my 86 year old mother. I have saved money on gas and lunch. I have more time to prepare meals.”
-Keaneena Agecoutay (FNUniv APT)
More time for the important things in life – less time driving to and from work and more time with
my daughter and husband.
-Anne Lauf ( U of R APT)
“I get to run in the morning just before I work as I don’t have the drive to work anymore.”
-Jason Bird (FNUniv APT)
“It’s been a bonding experience with my family members”
-Olusola Fansuwon ( U of R APT)
What do you look forward to the most when
life returns to normal?
“Going to my favorite local coffee shop and watching people’s happy faces”
-Rubina Khanam (U of R Academic)
“Being able to ride my bike to work.”
-Michael Shires (U of R Academic)
“Visiting my family – I very much miss my parents and siblings.”
-Tim Maciag (U of R Acadmic)
“Hugging my nieces and socializing with family and friends in person (I imagine there will be lots of hugs and tears) and going out for a nice supper”.
-Kelly-Ann McLeod (U of R APT)