WFH, According to CESSE Members

Zoom workouts, PBS Kids songs, and daily morning walks.

We asked a few of our members how they are adjusting to balancing life with the demands of association work while working from home. Here's what they had to say.

Kate Dockins, CAE

Kate Dockins, CAE
Vice President, Volunteer Leadership Development; Executive Director, Foundation
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

Stephan Addo

Stephan Addo 
Community Engagement Manager
American Physical Society (APS)

Lizzy Seymour, CMP

Lizzy Seymour, CMP 
Manager, Conference Services
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)




What are you doing to engage members/keep content relevant?

LS: ASHRAE has set up a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Preparedness Resource page on our website that links to helpful information such as latest updates from CDC, WHO, Georgia Department of Public Health as well as links to email communications and news releases that ASHRAE distributed to its members. The webpage also provides easily accessible resources from ASHRAE to building industry professionals such as Technical Committees, a free instructional video produced by ASHRAE's Tech Hour, ASHRAE Publications and Position Document, specific ASHRAE Handbook Chapters, links to ASHRAE Journal Papers, ASHRAE Standards and Guidelines, Research Project and past Conference Seminars and Papers that can be used to support our members in their work during this time.
KD: We quickly organized a cross-departmental meeting to identify archived resources we could curate into a special edition of our monthly newsletter. This proved to be an excellent use of resources as the open rate increased significantly. We are also leveraging our social platform by linking relevant discussions through social media to encourage peer support and solutions.


What is an opportunity to do things differently?

LS:  A big opportunity we are exploring is virtual/remote participation in several different aspects of Society business and programs.


Best practices for working remotely?

LS:  Get some good earbuds! We are utilizing Microsoft Teams much more and have been helpful for screen sharing, impromptu meetings, calls, instant messaging, and collaboration.

KD:  As a working parent, I've always maximized the morning quiet hours to plan my day and prioritize my tasks. Now, I'm finding myself shifting this exercise both at the start and end of the day – it helps to remind me that I'm making progress. 

SA:  I would say creating a workstation in a different area/room of your home is crucial if there isn't one already. With many distractions being working from home, one needs a place to hunker down sans distractions that allows them to focus. I would also suggest adhering to a schedule/routine. Wake up at your usual time, log in at your usual time, take your regularly scheduled lunch break, and close the laptop when it's quitting time.   


What's something you're doing during the lockdown outside of working? Any books, articles, websites, podcasts that you are currently following? Any resources or inspiration you'd like to share?

LS:  My gym is hosting Zoom workouts that members can join. It's a little weird, but nice to see other people during this time of being indoors and isolated from normal activities.

PBS Kids has a daily newsletter that helps working parents who have kids at home that I have found useful. We are singing a lot of Daniel Tiger handwashing songs now.

The New York Times has a podcast called The Daily who recently released a short special episode recently titled Alone Together which gave some positive, uplifting sound bites of real people doing things in this new at-home space.  Worth a short 7-minute listen in my opinion.  

KD:  Daily morning walks and writing a note to drop in the mail each day to family, friends, and coworkers.

SA:  Outside of work, I am enjoying binging All American on Netflix and having virtual happy hours with friends. Also, the Instagram challenges and overall creativity that has popped up on social media because of the lockdown is quite entertaining to watch. 


What are some fun or different ways you're staying connected to colleagues or team members?

SA:  My department has Zoom check-ins every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday just to update each other on our tasks and assignments. We also take that time to check-in on each other and see how we're all doing. That's when random hilarity ensues. You get to see pets, babies, and significant others pop in and out. Have you ever had a completely virtual department birthday celebration for a coworker? It's quite fun! Party hats and all. 

KD:  Many of our team members had previously leveraged Microsoft Teams and Zoom technologies to advance how we communicate.  It's been terrific to see early adopters help those across the team who are new to remote work.  We are quickly pivoting to other streamlined workstream efficiencies including shared docs and ensuring our calendars are blocked to balance the new normal so many of us are experiencing while our families/ coworkers have joined us at home.


We're About Trust

The keyword that comes up again and again at CESSE is trust. Our community members meet through our hallmark events and continue the conversations well beyond. Whether you are looking for a sounding board to help you work through a challenge, tips and advice on industry practices, or referrals to other people who have a solution you can use, CESSE is here to be, or become, your professional network of choice.

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