A different kind of daily grind

Working from home presents unfamiliar challenges


Some people find that working from home goes just fine for them. But Golden resident Eric Rasch says he isn’t one of them.

That’s why, after a year and a half of working from home, Rasch said he was excited to begin a new position working out of an office as a salesman for Colorado Commercial and Residential Painting in early March.

“With no office and no officemates to shoot the breeze with around the water cooler, I kind of started to go a little stir-crazy,” he said.

So it was especially disappointing for Rasch when he learned after just two weeks of working in the office that he would now need to work from home due to COVID-19. It’s a challenge that has meant not only getting back into an old lifestyle and routine he never wanted to return to but also having to adjust to some new complications.

“The hardest part is that I live with my girlfriend and we have a roommate and each one of us has dogs,” Rasch said. “So we have three humans and three dogs and we are all on top of each other in the same house.”

But while Rasch is no stranger to working from home, thousands of other workers have found themselves adjusting to doing so for the first time as offices and work places have closed in response to the epidemic. Among them is Catlin Latta, another Golden resident whose employer, oil and gas company BP, has shifted her to working from home.

Doing so, she said, has required her to adapt to her new situation by developing new skills that range from keeping her phone out of immediate reach to learning to keep a mental separation between work and leisure time when there is no longer a physical separation between them.

“The first week I sort of completely on accident worked much longer hours because my whole set-up is right in my living room area where I spend most of my time, so it became so tempting to just sit down at my computer and keep working because I have things to do,” she said.

Since then, she’s begun making more of a conscious effort to stop working at around the same time she typically does in the office, and she now tries to commit to keeping her weekends as personal time, even if she isn’t able to go out and enjoy her typical activities.

COVID-19 has also meant big work life changes for Jennifer Barr, the owner of Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery in Centennial. The shop is currently closed to walk-in customers (although customers can still come by to pick up pre-ordered custom cakes). Because of that, Barr has shifted to only going to the shop a couple times a week rather than every day (her employees are now doing most of the cake making) and doing most of her sales and marketing work from home.

She says that while the adjustment hasn’t been too bad overall, she has made one major adjustment in an effort to substitute for one of her favorite aspects of working in the shop.

“The customer interaction is the piece I’ve really enjoyed about working in the shop, so now I’ve been trying to do as much as I can over the phone versus via email to try to keep that human interaction as much as I can,” she said.

But despite that effort, Barr said there is no substitute for being in the shop day in and day out.

“I’m definitely looking forward to getting back in there and decorating cakes and seeing customers in-person and the other things I really enjoy,” she said.

COVID-19, Colorado


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