Welcome & Introduction
Our September blog features a reflection from the team on what remote work is like, what's going on in Afghanistan, and local resources. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and read up!
What’s going on with S4SB?
What's remote work like?
I’ve been seeing a lot of articles in the news about big companies tearing their hair out over whether or not they should “go back to normal.” Management wants to go back to in-person, but they’re not sure if they should mandate vaccines or masks. Workers are quitting their jobs rather than going back to the office. Google has these new cool office areas that mix chairs and monitors around a conference table so that in-person and remote workers are on equal footing… but they’re cutting pay to remote workers! All of this makes me feel like we’re very cutting edge because we’re not worrying about it at all. We all took to remote work like ducks to water, and nobody’s interested in going back to the way things were. We all have flexibility and autonomy, and I don’t find that to be a setback at all. What benefit would I have by asking folks to come into the office - being able to watch over them? They’re grown-ups, I know they’re going to get their work done (and besides, I check everyone’s work remotely). And now they can get it done when it’s convenient for them. They have busy lives, and a regular schedule would hamper their work, not make them more productive. I realize our work is uniquely suited to remote, and other businesses have hurdles I haven’t even thought about yet. But I can’t help thinking that this is the way to move forward for a lot of jobs. I know my staff wants to do good work for their clients, and that’s what matters. If they want to work at 9:00 at night and have the day off, it makes no difference to me, or anybody else. They all know their deadlines and factor them into their schedules - in between dates with their partners, shuttling kids, doctor appointments, music lessons, me-time, whatever.
I asked them if they’d like to share their experience and here’s what folks had to say.
When Covid first landed upon us and we needed to distance ourselves from our shared Arcata office, I set up a nifty Eureka home office for myself, complete with a laptop, two external monitors, faster Internet service, and a file drawer with postage stamps and company return address labels. All the necessities of an office in the back bedroom! As most of you know, the Solutions for Small Businesses model is to help our clients as needed, as opposed to working for everyone, every day. Using computers with secure connections, our work can continue unaffected by our locations. My 15-year old dog is happier that I’m set up at home, I’ve got a nice view of my backyard, and it’s easier to squeeze in a few personal tasks, like running the dishwasher during non-peak PG&E hours! We still have our fully-equipped office in Arcata, of course, and it feels good to go in there when I must make occasional in-person contact, easily done by appointment. As easily as we have adapted to in-home work when these Covid dangers are at last behind us, I must say I look forward to driving into Arcata more often, seeing my co-workers more frequently, welcoming new clients in person, and grabbing a sandwich after the short walk to the Co-Op.
If you know me, you know that I like to have a lot of things on my plate at a time. Whether it be yoga instruction, graphic design, setting up fish aquariums, teaching in the mountains, or even working for an irrigation company. I’ve always loved having one or more jobs, and I’ve loved my experience working at S4SB because it allows me to balance all of these incredible jobs, no matter where or what I’m doing. I feel so fortunate to work for a company that allows me to work remotely on my schedule, creating artwork, ads, and updating our website in my time. Not to mention I got to move to Colorado with full support from my amazing team! It allows me to work my other jobs in person, and still have time with my loved ones at the end of the day. Not to mention that my coworkers send me messages that make me smile throughout the day.
After working for myself for 20 years, Covid forced me to search out a new livelihood for an undetermined time frame. In my search for work, I had created a mental checklist of the things I thought would work best for me in general terms and specifically during this pandemic. Going from being self-employed to being an employee is a big change and I knew some situations would work better than others. Fundamental to my requirements was working for someone that I respect and believe in. And I wanted it to be for a small, local business. Because of the pandemic and being home with my young son, I knew I needed remote work that could be safe and flexible through this very weird time. I was lucky to know Katherine from my steel drum band - Pan Dulce, and she needed some additional help at Solutions for Small Businesses. As it turned out, I lucked out and managed to check all of my boxes. I prefer to have a sense of autonomy in my work, so being given projects and tasks to work on from home and fit around my other responsibilities has been a great fit for me.
Though I’ve worked for S4SB for a year now, I’ve only seen my coworkers in person 1-2 times! But because of zoom and Slack (our texting app), it has been easy to develop a camaraderie. And, my tech skills have greatly improved this year. I love working from home, taking stretch breaks and walks when I need them, having flexible hours to enjoy my son, and spending lots of time with our 3 cats and our dog. My cats in particular love showing up for zoom meetings and keeping my lap warm as I work!
Katie’s add On-
The ladies said it well. I’ve had my specific thoughts and experiences but the general reflections are “what she said.” I was so lucky to have asked Katherine to take me on and train me a couple of years before Covid. This is the perfect remote job.
I’m already a homebody so I like remote work. Also, Katherine and our crew have adapted so well to online that not only do I keep learning techie stuff, but we all still see each other and interact online. It’s pretty rich. To think that sci-fi movies of my childhood showed people able to talk to each other on-screen and it was so crazy!!
It has been a challenging time in so many ways for so many people. I see us trying and adapting and that is an inspiration.
The opportunity that came my way to work with Katherine and the S4SB team in January couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. While supporting my son through distance learning and independent studies, the ability to have a remote position with flexible hours is crucial to keeping a good mom/ work life balance. I particularly enjoy my quick breaks at home, watering plants, picking flowers, admiring the hummingbirds out of my window, and walking with my son.
I too am continually inspired by Katherine and all the hard working amazing women that make up the S4SB team, and how well they all have evolved with remote work. I’m forever grateful for feeling so supported by them all during these changing times.
DEI Discussions & Community Opportunities
What’s going on in Afghanistan?
From an article in the New York Times, here’s what you need to know:
Kabul falls to the Taliban as the Afghan government collapses and the president flees.
Fear and confusion take hold in Kabul as the Taliban move in and the government crumbles.
Evacuation from Kabul falters as chaos at the airport reigns.
Afghan Americans, angry over Taliban victory, protest in Washington.
The U.S. is not moving Afghan allies out fast enough to avoid reprisals, critics say.
The article also explained that in addition, “The Taliban effectively sealed their control of Afghanistan on Sunday, pouring into the capital, Kabul, and meeting little resistance as President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, the government collapsed, and chaos and fear gripped the city, with tens of thousands of people trying to escape”. I encourage you to read more of this article using the link above.
As our team learned back in April, being “inclusive” doesn’t always mean asking the question “What can I do about it?” Diversity, equity, and inclusion come in many layers, from personal to institutional. Sometimes just staying informed about these issues and talking about them - through word of mouth, social media, and even at the grocery store - is the best thing we can do.
With all of that being said, one simple way that you can make a genuine difference is in your local community. In Humboldt, the Humboldt Area Foundation works on many issues regarding equity and inclusion. Their current project is called the Disaster and Response Relief Fund, which works to support the residents of Humboldt. Trinity, Del Norte, and Currey counties, as well as adjoining Tribal lands during current and future disasters, including fires, earthquakes, flooding, and other natural and man-made disasters. Click here to donate now.
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