The reality of COVID-19 hit CTP suddenly one year ago. A member of our team told us her roommate had been exposed to a colleague who tested positive.
What should we do? Ask her to stay home? Seemed a little drastic at the time, and within a day or two her roommate tested negative. Maybe this whole COVID thing was one big false alarm.
Or maybe not. A tragic medical story began to unfold across the country. Businesses started to close, conferences were postponed, the NBA suspended the season and March Madness was cancelled.
Decisions needed to be made. So we turned to our team for guidance. What were they thinking? What concerns did they have? First and foremost, they were not scared to be at the office, but they were scared to come to the office. Public transportation was not a place anyone wanted to be.
Days later, 52 weeks ago today in fact, we asked our people to pack what they needed to work remotely, make sure they knew how to access the server, and sent them home. Two days later, we shared in a blog that, “Our teams will be working from home through next Friday. At that time, we’ll reassess.” Ha.
Within weeks, a numbing reality set in that we would not be back in the office anytime soon. We’d see each other (including children and pets) via Zoom, ask if spouses, kids, parents and grandparents were healthy, and learn the hard way how much we missed each other.
But we also shared the new things we were all doing, and wondered if we’d still be doing them when COVID finally passed. Things like:
• Washing your hands regularly
• Keeping a safe distance from others
• Enjoying special time you set aside during the day to do things with your family
• Having one-on-ones with your teammates to stay connected
• Looking for opportunities to help others
• Looking to support businesses who are helping others
• Continuing to support local, small businesses
• Saying thank you to our doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals
• Thanking our delivery people
• Appreciating grocery and pharmacy workers
• Taking walks around the neighborhood
• Zooming with family and friends, especially those far away
• Reaching out to friends you’ve lost touch with to see if they’re OK
• Not shaking hands with others
• Hoarding toilet paper
• Feeding your kids’ imaginations
• Staying grateful for what you have
• Being more present
• Exercising and focusing on personal health
• Doing Zoom Workout classes
• Tipping way more than you ever have
• Playing board games/having game nights via Jackbox/House Party/Tabletop
• Supporting our TVG client
• Exploring new virtual backgrounds on Zoom
• Finding joy in a simple car ride
• Using the phrase “In these unprecedented times” (or “new normal”)
• Getting emotional when you see everyone wearing masks in public
• Slacking someone just to check in
• Trying to find some way to cheer up a 2020 high school senior who won’t be attending her prom, graduation or softball season
• Having telehealth appointments with your doctor
• Being extra careful when doing any task so you don’t hurt yourself and end up needing to go to the hospital
• Purposefully going out for runs in inclement weather to avoid groups of pedestrians
• Watching Jeopardy! every night at 7:30
• Learning new recipes
• Signing up for a CSA
• Doing Jigsaw puzzles
• Using MUTE strategically to hide your kid’s voices in the background
• Eating lunch with your kids
• Walking/running the trail in the early morning
• Wondering when this insanity will be over
• Appreciating the small moments in life
• Missing things (restaurants, sports, concerts) less than you thought you would. Or more.
As tragic as this year has been, in many ways it has made our CTP family stronger. As one colleague shared recently, “I have to say…In the 5 years I’ve been at CTP, I have never felt so much love for or from our group. We truly care about each other’s lives, families, futures, health. I consider CTP my second home…my second family. It’s so rare and so special to feel these feelings about a job and your co-workers. I’m so grateful to be part of this amazing group.”