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Working on Wellness

Personal Reflections on Working Remotely

By Glenn Liebman (Staff)

I am the first to admit, I am not a big technology guy. So when I am having tech problems, I get frustrated and angry. I am very lucky to work in an office next to our deputy director Melissa who is a tech person, on top of her many other skills, and can generally fix my issues in about two minutes.

The other morning, I had tech problems and my computer was not working. Working remotely, I shared my concerns with Melissa and our IT consultant Bruce; eventually they were able to piece together my problem and resolved it as they always do. The problem is that because I cannot explain it well, it took a long time to resolve. Much longer then it would have, had we been working in the office.

I miss my office. With the exception of a few years, I have spent forty-six year in an office setting. I met my wife working in an office and have met some lifelong friends working in an office.

I love the comradery of a wonderful office and that is what we have at MHANYS. Everyone is hard working, friendly and respectful of each other. I find people fascinating so I very much enjoy finding out about their lives and of course, I also love talking sports.

Over the many years I’ve been at MHANYS, I also love routine. I park in the same spot every morning, get coffee at the same deli, have soup at the deli downstairs or run across the street to get a slice of pizza.  I love having my friend Harvey working across the hall and when days are tough, I know we can go across the hall to each other to share a laugh or have a strategy discussion.

However, after seven weeks, reality is sinking in and I am doing my best to develop a new remote routine. It helps me to have regularly scheduled staff meetings to obviously check in with people’s work but also to find out what they are doing—thriving off the personal connection we have with each other. Depending on my schedule of calls and meetings, I take a break to have lunch with my wife which I very much enjoy. If I can and the weather permits, I will take a break in the afternoon and take a walk, catch up with my son if he isn’t working or just chill out back for a few minutes, listening to my eclectic musical tastes.  I don’t know how to end my work day but that’s alright for now, given the need to respond to everything in this environment.

So I guess there are advantages to working remotely. For example anyone who has ever worked with me over my career knows the word chill has never been part of my vocabulary. For the first time, it is something I have to learn to do. The coronavirus has provided perspective, a perspective that none of us wanted but one that gives us a moment to reflect on the things that really matter in life—family, friendships, compassion and humor.

So when we hit the new normal whatever that is; maybe I will occasionally work from home or take the time to walk at lunch. Times will be changing and this is an opportunity for me to change with the times. Time to chill a little.