Work (and Life) Balance from the Comfort of Your Home

by Kimberly Young

Well, it goes without saying that 2020 has been a whirlwind.  We are now about 7 months – give or take — into living through a pandemic.  We thought it would be a good time to reflect on what’s been happening.  Inland was deemed an essential business back in March, and we have continued to work around the clock producing labels and packaging to help keep store shelves stocked.  Our production crews have worked endless hours of overtime, our sales team has adapted to life sans-travel, and even if we don’t fall into either of those buckets, we’ve all felt the impact– one way or another — of more time at home.  How can we adapt balancing work while we (or others) do their jobs from the comfort of their home?  There are three key takeaways that I know I have learned during this time, and think some of you may be able to relate.

Technology

Early on, there were endless invites to a Zoom happy hour with coworkers, family, or friends.  Countless “nice to e-meet yous,” side bets on when you might go back into the office, or how about those awkward moments when you think you are on mute…and you are not.  Can you calculate the number of Teams/Zoom meetings you have been on this year?  Don’t do it, it’ll make you want to hurl. It’s crazy to think about the amount of time we’ve spent interacting with people solely through a screen this year.  For example, our Technical Services team, whose job predominantly involved them traveling every week have taken advantage of using technology to still be “on-site” when trial labels are running or if an issue with a pressure sensitive label happens, through video calls.  I must say that this has pushed those who are less technologically savvy to adapt and try new things and realize the benefits.

I speak for myself (and hopefully others 😉) when I say that I’ve enjoyed my fair share of online shopping a bit more than usual in the last 8 months.  This includes grocery shopping, school supplies shopping, clothes shopping, and a coffee order to go!  I could, in theory, go days without physically seeing a person if I tried.  Considering that everything can be done from the comfort of your computer or phone makes you as a brand owner as well as Inland, as a packaging supplier, wonder what’s next?  We used to preach about how important it is to have your label jump off the store shelf…now, we’re talking much more about how do we get your packaging to make consumers click “add to cart.”

Virtual Events

Unfortunately, Zoom work meetings aren’t the only aspect of our virtual interactions.  Inland had our calendar chock-full of events that our team was planning to attend, to network, build relationships, and gain new opportunities.  Those have since either been canceled or moved to a virtual version of the show.

However, I have been very impressed by the events that I have participated in.  Companies, such as PMMI, have done an amazing job of continuing to move forward and pushing their events to a virtual platform.  Pack Expo International, the largest packaging tradeshow, was scheduled to take place in Chicago in November, but we are now preparing for Pack Expo Connects, the virtual version of the show.    Inland is stoked to see the success of this show!  (Shameless plug…are you attending? Register here!)   We, like everyone else, are adapting to this virtual life.  We know we can offer the same experience for attendees virtually just as we would in person.  Whether it is providing educational opportunities through our Live Demos featuring Pure Wash or talking about sustainable packaging, or providing technical support through the live chat feature, it can all still be done.

Development

Some days it feels like I look back on the last 8-10 hours and wonder where the day has gone, while other days seem like a standard day in the life at the office.  Although my pants may be fitting a bit tighter than usual, since well…I don’t wear anything but leggings these days, I’ve found myself having more time to DO the work.  The time that used to be spent driving to and from work every day equates to at least 5 hours a week that I can put into actual work rather than sitting in a car.  Now, I have to be honest, I don’t do that.  Instead, I’ve tried to utilize that time to do personal development.  In the past, this was always a task that I struggled to fit into my day.  We have that never-ending to-do list, where were we going to fit MORE?  I found that when I changed my mindset and thought of the development goals, and utilizing the time that I would be spending sitting in my car, it made me feel better for “making” the time during my normal workday.

I don’t think I am alone when I say, “I’m over 2020,” but I know that we are all adapting as much as possible to the unknown of what’s to come.  Think back to the last 8 months and everything you have accomplished – all from the comfort of your own home (for some), it’s actually pretty impressive.   And, last but not least, we hope to see you at Pack Expo Connects.

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