Working from home or office in the days of COVID-19 presents major challenges for many West Valley residents.
“I think I’m working even harder than I did before,” said Michelle Thompson, a Millennium High School English teacher.
She also said she sometimes feels disconnected.
“I miss the face-to-face interaction and standing at the door, greeting and checking in with them,” she said about her students.
Dr. Troy Anderson, a Goodyear neurologist, has included much more telemedicine into his practice, though he is still able to see some patients in office. He agrees the lack of personal interaction makes things difficult.
“I miss being face-to-face with my patients. I am not able to give a friendly pat on the back like I am used to,” he said.
But many people are looking for silver linings.
John Crow, CEO of Glendale-based Century 21 Northwest Realty, said he is seeing the community in a new light.
“There’s a real soul to the fabric of the community of the Glendale area, and you’re really seeing that now more than ever,” he said. He sees businesses and the community rallying together to keep one another afloat, he added.
Crow, whose office is considered an essential business by the state of Arizona and has been restructured with a smaller crew for everyone’s safety, said he is optimistic about the future of his and other businesses.
He looks forward to more normal times. Meanwhile, his staff gives regular antiseptic cleaning to the workstations and informs clients of the necessary regulations before allowing them into the building.
Ryan Caracciolo, founder of Striventa Business Solutions, said he, too, has noticed and taken a hand in mutually supporting local businesses, even as he and his employees all work from their homes.
“What I’ve seen is a rallying among businesses and companies supporting and helping one another through this difficult time,” he said.
While no one is erecting cubicles in their homes yet, the challenge of limited space can be daunting. Caracciolo, for example, shares his workspace with his two young daughters.
Many with previous teleconferencing and collaboration software experience have had a noticeably easier time adapting to the new circumstances, according to Khan Ho, a Glendale-based operations engineer at Desert Financial.
Ho said that, like many, he is looking forward to any light at the end of the tunnel in regard to the enforced self-isolation. Even so, he said he hopes the skills acquired from this time of remote work will assist him in the future.
Ho said he is fortunate to have an individual office space in his home and has had no difficulty managing his professional and family life, partly because of his industry’s reliance on remote work prior to the governor’s stay-at-home order.
“I definitely have more time to tend to issues around the house, and I’ve been able to balance my work with that,” Ho said.
The transition has been a challenge for those like Buckeye resident Leonor Gonzalez. A USAA customer service representative, she had trouble adjusting to working from home, as she had to share one ethernet cable with her significant other, who also works from home now.
“I couldn’t work if he had to work,” Gonzalez said