Paper Matters Blog
Working from Home: What We’ve Learned Over the Last Year

There’s an old saying that goes “What a difference a day makes.” It’s often positive, comparing the blessings of today to the sorrows of yesterday. Dinah Washington, a famed singer from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, even won a Grammy for her rendition of the song “What a Difference a Day Makes” that goes “What a diff’rence a day made. Twenty-four little hours brought the sun and the flowers where there used to be rain.” Lately, when someone says “what a difference a day makes,” we know they’re referring to the elephant in the room—Covid-19. There was a day in March 2020 when everything was normal. The world commuted to work, kids attended school in person and imminent confinement to our homes was all but inconceivable. Then, the next day came and we were told to pack up our equipment and set up shop in our living rooms with little-to-no notice. For many of us, working from home was a foreign concept and we had to quickly adjust and learn how to balance the work and home halves. Now, in March 2021, we have some experience under our belt and 365 days of discovering what to and what not to do. Here are a few things we’ve tackled in the last year to help ease your load.

Working from Home: How did We tackle the New Normal

At some point this year the pandemic will likely end, but that doesn’t mean that everything will go back to the way it was. We are all creatures of habit and during the last year we’ve learned some new ones, like embracing the virtual meeting, spending more time at home and staring at screens a LOT more than usual. Some of these new routines may be here for the long haul, but fortunately, we learned how to navigate many of them throughout 2020—so how did we tackle the new normal?

Well, for starters we mastered the art of virtual presentations. Video meetings swiftly became the norm once we were quarantined, but there was still an adjustment period as we learned the ins and outs of virtual presentations, video etiquette and “Zoom culture.” Some of our coworkers continued to wear their work polos and sweaters while others transitioned to hoodies and old college tees, kids and pets joined us on calls and the mute button became our staunchest ally, and throughout it all, the work got done. We soon shared tips on marketing in the new normal, churned out blogs, created videos and…realized that we were burnt out, and we weren’t alone. At some point during the year, the stress, our environments and the endless routine of waking up and staring at screens wasn’t getting easier—it was draining us. Discovering and experiencing digital fatigue was one of our many reminders that it’s never too late to make adjustments. Just because we’d settled into a routine and leaped the early hurdles in the pandemic didn’t mean that the race was over.

Working From Home, Teaching and Everything in Between

Working from home was only half of the new normal—for many of us, we also had to adapt to homeschooling. When our work came home, so did our children’s classroom and one of the first things we noticed in the early days of the pandemic was the absence of assets for kids, both educational and entertaining. Kids who, in a normal world, would go to school and receive activity sheets and fun printouts were now at home without access to any of those resources. Parents were now trying to juggle working from home and homeschooling their children, all while missing a few tools in the average teacher’s toolkit. To help parents bridge the gap between working their jobs and teaching and entertaining the children, we created a series of downloadable activity sheets. Tic Tac Toe and Connect & Color highlight the fun in sheet one while Read & Match and other activities give kids something educational to do in sheet two. Fortunately, both parents and kids are versatile, and families adapted to balancing home, school and work in a sort-of suburban Bermuda Triangle.

Staying Productive and the Value of Paper.

One of the positives we’ve found working from home is that many people are recalling the value of paper and finding new ways to stay productive. As people grew tired of screens, they turned to books and podcasts for both entertainment and educational benefits and took a quick mental break from their laptops. We even took our own advice and launched a podcast where we talk sustainability, print, design and everything in between because we knew that the resources that were available at the time weren’t supplying every need. We discovered that the trick to tackling the new normal was understanding that now and then, you have to adjust your grip, so we’re sharing what we’ve learned with you. Take a look through some of our resources on how print will help you, and the next time you say “What a difference a day makes,” you’ll be thinking about how much easier the new normal has become.

For more tips on working from home and tackling the new normal, visit our blog.

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Contributors

Vanecia Carr
Customer & Brand Marketing Director
Meredith Collins
Customer & Brand Marketing Manager
Jill DiNicolantonio
Blog Contributor & Parse & Parcel Founder
Paige Goff
Vice President of Sustainability
Ashley Maydak
Creative and Brand Marketing Manager
John Parke
Customer Marketing Manager
Lori Slovik
Technology Manager
Tammy Tufty
Marketing Communications Manager
Nicholas Pearson
Marketing Specialist