COVID-19: Four Years Later

“I remember exactly where I was when…”

I’m sure you’ve heard this line before. Every generation experiences a few rare moments that are so impactful that they stand still in our memories forever. March of 2020 is one of those moments.

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, our chaotic world suddenly stood still. The Venice canals ran clear; and you could hear a pin drop in Times Square. Sure, it was a break for Mother Earth, but it was hardly a break for the rest of us.

Two weeks of quarantine become one month. One month became two, then four, then six. It wasn’t until over a year later that we returned to some semblance of normalcy. Even then, we had to worry about keeping ourselves—and our loved ones—safe.

One thing helped us adapt to this “new normal”: technology. It wasn’t new technology per se, but we were forced to use it in new ways. Zoom weddings, Skype happy hours, you name it. Technology united us in ways previously unimaginable.

Companies, like DCI Group, relied on remote work to keep its doors open during the pandemic. According to Janet McDonald, Director of Human Resources at DCI, tools like Microsoft Teams were “key to meeting the needs of our employees and clients.”

“The pandemic brought about the increased reliance on technology, re-evaluation of workplace policies and structures, and more emphasis on employees’ well-being and flexibility,” she added.

While many adapted quickly, these changes didn’t come without challenges. Emily Sullivan joined DCI in September 2020 and was one of the first new hires since the pandemic hit. It was also her first full-time job after college graduation.

“I [had to] find a routine, build relationships, and understand DCI’s culture—despite working remotely and only meeting my colleagues over video calls,” Emily said. “Being remote and new during such an unprecedented time added a layer of difficulty to the experience.”

These circumstances, though difficult, pushed Emily to reach out to her colleagues. Virtual “coffee chats” and happy hours helped her feel part of the team. While she couldn’t tap them on the shoulder, she had people she felt comfortable reaching out to, despite being hundreds of miles apart.

Like Emily, Janet struggled with missing the daily interaction of colleagues. Fortunately, DCI did a “great job of checking in on employees’ safety and mental health,” she said. “DCI had a great virtual holiday party and delivered treats, games, and prizes to employees’ homes,” she added.

Remote work also changed many employee work habits. During the pandemic, when email communication was heightened, Emily made a concerted effort to check her inbox at the end of the day to “ensure nothing slip[ped] through.” It’s a habit she’s kept up.

So…here we are more than 1,200 days later. Are things “back to normal?”  Well, things are surely different than before the pandemic, but at DCI Group we’re back in the office, collaborating, while also leaning on the creative ways to communicate with our colleagues that we honed while we were apart.

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