Working From Home, The New Normal?

The current COVID-19 pandemic is causing massive changes for employees around the globe as many are forced to find ways to work from home. This can be a challenging adjustment for those unaccustomed to it, which is why we decided to reach out to Brian Ratzliff (’86), President of Global University Sports Properties, to hear how he’s managing his team in Seattle during this turbulent season.

1: Have A Contingency Plan

Brian believes that first and foremost, it’s important for businesses to ensure they have contingency plans for having their employees work from home.

“Obviously, this is easier in a white-collar business, and much harder in the trades, construction, retail or hospitality businesses,” says Brian. “Here in Washington, we haven’t gone to ‘Shelter in Place’ edicts* like California, New York, and a few other states, but you probably need to plan as if it will happen.”

*NOTE: Washington State announced a Shelter in Place edict a few hours after this article was posted.

2: Over Communicate

Brian says he and his team have transitioned to using Zoom for video meetings and coordination. As they transition to working from home, they’ve had to schedule weekly Zoom calls for all employees just to ensure everyone stays up to date.

“We’ve adopted an ethos of over-communicating with one other just so we don’t let things drop through the cracks,” says Brian. “Meetings have a much stricter agenda / focus, and we have someone record the pertinent notes and assignments from each meeting and route them around as follow-ups.”

3: Set Healthy Routines

Although this is a difficult adjustment, Brian says he is continuing to maintain a healthy routine and work hours to ensure he is able to focus and stay productive.

“I set a routine from the time I get up,” says Brian. “I have my prayer time, my meal times, my exercise time (have to get outside if they allow you to). I also do something small, like ‘dress-for-work’. We’re a business casual office, so that’s what I wear each day. Today, on our internal call, everyone was in sweats or T-shirts of some kind, and I was the only one in business casual, but that’s what I need to get my mind business-ready.”

4: Create Space at Home Dedicated to Work

Brian’s wife Traci works for the City of Seattle, so she is also working from home these days. In order to maintain their focus and to give each-other appropriate space to get their work done, they’ve each created designated workspace separate from the other.

“That’s much harder to do if you’re in an apartment sharing space with a spouse or roommates, or even if you’re in a house and juggling young kids or kids who are now doing online learning,” says Brian. “Suddenly, you’re a working professional at home and a home school monitor! That’s a tough job.”

5: Stay Connected to Friends and Family

On Sunday, Brian says he and his wife continue to meet with their couples Bible study over Zoom. “We had some good laughs and it went pretty smoothly. Staying in touch with friends and family is very important at this time,” says Brian.

6: Stay Positive and Lean on God

Even though it isn’t always easy, Brian says he’s been doing his best to keep a positive attitude and to focus on God rather than on fear.

“There will be some horrible health-care stories that we’ll likely soon see on the news, but we have our assurance in eternal salvation. If there’s ever a chance for Christians to demonstrate how we’re different, this is going to be one of them,” says Brian. “And remember, our respective countries have lived through a lot worse periods, we can manage COVID-19.”