Essential Exception: Working at the KA Office during the time of COVID-19
How the KA Headquarters Office Team is Coping with COVID-19 Protocols
By Brenden Nickels
Brenden Nickels is senior office assistant at Kraus-Anderson headquarters in Minneapolis.
Well, life sure has changed during these past few months. From social distancing to the closing of parks of businesses to distance learning for students, it’s times like these that present us with many unique challenges as we go forward adjusting to this new normal.
An Essential Business
Kraus-Anderson, as an essential company, has continued its operations while the majority of its employees work from home.
“A lot has changed since the work from home has been implemented but one thing has remained the same; our commitment to serving our clients (both internal and external).” said Krystal Burton, KA’s Lead Project Coordinator.
“We’ve been able to keep the ship moving and are getting stuff done.” said Accounting Manager Ryan Szarzynski. “The hardest part is not being able to interact in person with everyone.”
With working from home, it has been somewhat of a challenge trying to balance work life with home life. Burton adds, “We are finding our groove, but distance learning is demanding as well. Luckily, my husband is still working and we’re grateful to both have jobs, so in comparison, I feel blessed as others don’t have my luxury to work from home or even have a job during this time.”
Virtual Resources for Wellness
As Kraus-Anderson’s wellness specialist, Bre Ostrom has been doing a lot of work trying to help our employees cope through this. Since most of us are struggling with our mental health, she has been sharing information related to that issue. In addition, we have also been doing virtual seminars about nutrition, stress and 401ks.
“This is also a great time of need for many. Our KA Has Heart program was sort of put on hold because the team volunteering events that we normally do, can’t really be done now.” said Ostrom. “We have been encouraging KAers to make masks and donate blood.”
While it would have been nice for me to stay home too, I still have to come into the office because the majority of my duties that I have here at KA I cannot do at home. However, I haven’t been anywhere else besides work and home during this time.
It really hasn’t been much of a change for me, I still help out Project Managers and Coordinators whenever they need me to. I still pick up the outgoing mail each afternoon (although the load is lighter than what it has been before with not so many people here). I will say, it is a little bit quieter than usual, and that is expected. But at the same time, I feel honored that I am considered “essential” here. Plus, I still write my blog articles whenever necessary. I have been social distancing as much as possible when I am work, trying to stay as far away as I can. Therefore, I have been somewhat “people-phobic.”
I have been very fortunate to not have been infected by the virus so far, as have my family, my co-workers, and their families. In fact, I think Minnesota has done a very nice job in handling this virus, compared to places like New York, for instance. Throughout this time, I’m trying to stay positive, even when the news is negative. I know that we will get through this eventually, even though we don’t know when. I know that we will come back. More importantly, if this virus comes back later, we’ll be prepared to take it on again.