Jamie Singer, VP Deposit Operations for INB, says this about the transition to e-learning and working from home: "I hope we are ready this fall, and that we learned a little from the spring." That said, she adds, "It's not the road I wish we were traveling . . . just a reminder to the other parents out there: You are not traveling this road alone."
For many of our INB employees, it’s been difficult to transition from working in office setting to working from home. Combining that transition with the additional responsibilities of their kids’ education has created even more challenges!
Some of our staff weigh in on what it’s been like to work remotely while also caring for and helping their children with school…
It’s Worth the Stress
As a single mom of four, Darcy Marr explains how working from home full-time can be an adjustment. Two of Darcy’s kids are in school, and she also has twins who are four years old.
Darcy, branch manager in Pleasant Plains, shares: “Things were a bit stressful sometimes with trying to help my kids with homework, calling into phone conferences, making outreach calls to customers, and trying to entertain the twins. But we made the best of it and made it work!”
Darcy was clear about one thing: spending quality time with her kids during this time was worth the stress and adjustment. And she only got locked out of her house once!
“I loved being able to see my kids discover new ways to learn and adapt, right alongside me. My thanks goes out to INB for such wonderful support,” she says.
The New Normal
No matter how great of a multitasker you may think you are, working full time in quarantine with a family at home may prove you wrong. That’s what Tom Whooley, VP Commercial Lending, discovered this past spring.
The first two weeks of e-learning with their 4th grader and kindergartner and working at home were stressful in the Whooley household. Eventually, he and his wife, Stephanie, found a routine and decided to split up their workdays. One of them would work from 8-12, while the other would be on homework duty. Then they would switch for the second half of the day.
“Depending on who had meetings when, we would rotate working in the office with the door closed, uninterrupted,” Tom says. “Before we did this, we both struggled to stay on task to finish each project as it came up.”
Tom and his family did enjoy the flexibility in working from home, often playing a short game of basketball or taking a bike ride in the afternoon. To compensate, Tom found himself working early mornings or after the kids went to bed. Luckily, it seemed that these strange hours were becoming the new norm in the business world.
“I believe most business contacts understood the new ‘normal’ for business as I was receiving emails/texts at all hours of the day,” Tom shares. “Being able to log in early morning or in the evening allowed me to stay up with my loan pipeline, continue building business relationships and maintaining customer relations.”
Enjoy It While It Lasts
Nathan and Lindsay Van Zele also needed time to adjust to the new daily demands. The couple set up a work space in their dining room and tried to balance their kids’ needs with their work as INB communications officer (Lindsay) and deposit operations officer (Nathan).
Helping their two daughters, ages seven and five, with e-learning was just as much of a learning experience for the parents as for the kids. But there was also a lot to love about working from home.
“One reason I like working from home is getting a jumpstart on dinner prep and keeping up on the laundry. Living with four people, we sure do go through a ton of clothes. Especially the girls when they are doing fashion shows for us,” Lindsay says. “The unexpected snuggles were also a bonus.”
The couple also enjoyed the more lenient dress code that came with working at home. Instead of business professional attire, it was sweatpants and pajamas!
A Balance Between Work and Home Life
Although many industries slowed down at the start of the pandemic, INB’s role in commercial banking increased. That made balancing work and home life challenging for Chris Thoennes, VP Commercial Lending, as he and his wife teamed up to care for their three young kids while also being on the clock.
“Someone is always hungry, bored, or not getting along - and even though my wife was home too, it’s hard to ignore the calls of ‘Dad!’ coming from the next room,” he says.
Thankfully, INB’s ability to give employees remote access in March made the challenge of working from home easier for Chris. He enjoyed being able to take breaks from work to hang out with his family and appreciated INB’s flexibility through this season.
“I resumed working in the office full-time pretty quickly, but I’m thankful for the extra time with my family, and I think everyone at INB did a great job of working through non-ideal circumstances to ensure that our clients were taken care of during a very difficult time,” he says.
Back to Finding a Balance that Works
As of this publication date, many local schools were looking at altered schedules for the fall. While clients are key to any business, when asked what's most important in life, the typical answer is "family." So INB is working to assure we get the job done for our customers AND help our employees play dual roles.
Jamie Singer spent the spring months juggling working from home occasionally while still coming into the office as often as possible. "My husband and I tag teamed so we could both work and try to keep our two kids on top of their school work. It wasn’t easy! I have a career in banking for a reason -- I am not cut out to be a teacher, and definitely not to be a teacher to my own children. I’m much better at the mom-only role! My kids missed their friends, their teachers, sports, and definitely the schedule and routine in-person school gives. Full-time, working parents just can’t be a substitute for all this."