Structural Designer in LEA’s Building Structures team, Ryan Brown, looks forward to cycling to the University Avenue office every day – to practice his love of buildings, math, and science; and to work with a group that he considers close friends. Suddenly, like many others, his routine was shaken up as he was asked to work from home. Our communications team had a virtual sit down with Ryan to find out how he is adapting to this new lifestyle, what he is doing to keep his project work on schedule, and the ways he has been maintaining social normalcy in his life.
Adapting to this new lifestyle
Ryan has always preferred working from the office, mostly because he gets to work with his favourite group of people. However, since working from home he has experienced its many advantages –
“By cutting out my commute I have been able to spend more time on things like cooking healthier meals and hanging out with family (virtually) and roommates.” Ryan has also found that distributing his work throughout the day and adding in some time for chores, grocery shopping, and exercise, has helped him enjoy his days at home a little more. “I find it helps keep me fresher and sharper versus working through a single block of time. It’s more reminiscent of my time at school.”
Keeping projects on schedule
Overall, Ryan’s projects have not been affected by all of this – “It takes a lot to slow down construction and a big part of this is due to all the workers that continue on our project sites, ensuring things keep moving along.” Ryan has also been more diligent in his communication efforts with clients and partners which has helped maintain their project schedule. Booking meetings well ahead of time rather than calling on a whim to check up on things has contributed to more regular communication and an overall boost to his relationships with clients.
The Building Structures team has also worked very hard at ensuring things are on track by staying connected through instant messaging, and audio and video calls. Monday morning “all-in” team meetings have also kept everyone aware of current workloads and upcoming project milestones.
Keeping social normalcy
Ryan’s team has always been a tight-knit group with a “work hard, play hard” mindset. “We all work hard to get things done but also socialize, learn, and grow together.” To keep the group socially connected, they have started meeting on Friday afternoons for what they like to call “Friday Beer Hangouts,” where they have an opportunity to unwind, share stories from the week, and talk about things other than work.
In his personal life, Ryan has tried to maintain some traditions by hosting virtual game night with his friends on the weekends and continuing family birthday celebrations via virtual hangouts. Ryan is also an avid cycler and although he is missing his daily trips to and from the office, he has been able to go on evening rides instead. All of this time at home has also allowed Ryan to revive some of his old hobbies including playing guitar and cooking (although he admits he is more of a sous-chef).
Through this experience, Ryan has learned many lessons. “First and foremost, we are so fortunate to live in a time when many jobs can be done remotely. But others cannot. This entire experience has taught me to be more grateful for my situation, but more importantly, compassionate towards those who don’t have the opportunity to work from home and have either lost their job or continue to work on the front lines while everyone else is asked to stay apart.”
Ryan’s tip to all others working from home – set up a task-based schedule at the beginning of every day. He has found it helpful and motivating to reward himself with a break after completing a set of tasks versus after an amount of time. This has helped Ryan stay on track and maintain a normal productivity level while working at home.