Guest Column: AMST Director on a Month of WFH
By Sara Morgan
One of my daughters works for a large tech firm in San Francisco. She sent me a text on March 3rd saying they were just encouraged to WFH for the next two months due to Coronavirus. I responded, “What is WFH?” HA! One week later I found myself crafting a “Work from Home Plan” for the Art Museum of South Texas (AMST) staff – strictly a precaution because I was certain we wouldn’t need it. HA! And now, here I sit in my temporary office with a cat on my lap, a dog by my feet, the windows open to enjoy the late-season cool front, while I write my welcome column for the upcoming AMST newsletter, approve an ad for Texas Monthly, submit requirements for an SBA PPP loan and paddle like the devil to keep the Art Museum of South Texas not just afloat, but swimming in to the future.
I’m now four weeks into my new work schedule. It definitely involves a different pace. My alarm is set for 6 AM instead of 5 AM. I don’t hop into action when the alarm screams at me. I get some coffee, read the paper and watch the news to see how much the world has changed since I closed my eyes the night before. I move from my bed to the garage for a workout or hit the streets for a run and THEN I head inside to start my workday. My husband occupies the bedroom my girls called “the playroom” and I am down the hall in another vacated bedroom.
To my surprise, we really don’t talk during the day. He works. I work. There are periodic shouts that come from either of our rooms that usually signal some sort of technical glitch. That’s about our only discourse and really, it’s sent more to the working gods than to each other. I have nine scheduled video or phone conference meetings each week. It’s good to check in. It’s good to see people.
My mother was texting me last week and I finally responded with “Sorry. Super busy with work. Will call you later.” When we finally spoke, she asked me what I was working on since the Museum is closed. HA! Trust me, the workload is still there. All that has changed is the universe in which I complete the tasks.
Yes, I am now practicing the WFH model and am away from my team and from all of you. But in actuality, I’m not alone at all. You’re all in that back bedroom with me. We’re all experiencing this bizarre, frightening, innovative shift in how we work, together. We’re forging a new path and I doubt we will ever work the same again. A portion of this altered process will be inserted into our new work life, and it will be good. And we will all (God, please) recover together, and that will be doubly-good.
So, I say to the working gods who are trying their hardest to get us down, disrupt our businesses, and stand in the way of our progress, HA!