After 15 months of sheltering in place and surviving the global COVID-19 pandemic, Chartwell is happy to share that we have officially returned to our offices! Following thousands of virtual meetings, we are thrilled to be back together in person. We are fortunate that our team could proficiently work from home during this seemingly endless period of time. Moreover, we found an enhanced appreciation for our relationships with fellow colleagues, clients, and business partners across the country. As our team re-enters the physical world of Chartwell, we reflect on our time collaborating remotely and the excitement of returning to the office from the perspectives of Joe Skorczewski, Olivia Kowalski, Nate Dykes, and Jeff Anderson.
What was the best part about working remotely?
Skorczewski: The ability to multi-task was quite nice. Walking the dog while on a call meant I could go to the playground after work. Rather than just rushing home and throwing food on the table, preheating the oven or utilizing the crockpot opened up a whole new menu for our family. Also, when our wine shipped, I knew someone would be home to sign for it!
Kowalski: Spending all day with my dog! Plus, I enjoyed the autonomy of my schedule (and attire… looking at you, sweatpants).
Dykes: Accelerated adoption of technology which allowed for increased flexibility and efficiency. Widespread adoption of screen sharing, video conferencing, etc. should allow for the best of both worlds, so to speak, as a return to travel and office rolls out across the country.
Anderson: I think the biggest benefit of working remotely was the overall convenience. For example, I enjoyed the ability to make a fresh lunch every day rather than packing a lunch or eating out. I also appreciated the flexibility to take a mid-day walk outside or do a load of laundry and not feel as though I was falling behind. Of course the commute to my desk was pretty convenient, too.
What was one thing you missed most about being in the office?
Skorczewski: Humor. Especially inside jokes. There are funny, frustrating, and confusing things that happen in the office on a daily basis and my personal best way to deal with them all is humor. However, something that is funny at work may not be funny at home, such as Excel spreadsheet jokes! Having no one to share that with is something I definitely missed.
Kowalski: Aside from the incredible views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, I missed the connection with my colleagues, from the minute conversations about family or weekend plans to the in-person collaboration on key projects.
Dykes: I think we can all agree we missed the camaraderie and day-to-day human interaction our colleagues and clients provided in the in-person office environment.
Anderson: The thing I missed most about the office was the face-to-face interaction and camaraderie. The people at Chartwell set us apart and discussing a project or catching up with co-workers just wasn’t the same via video calls.
Now that we’re back to the office, what do you appreciate most about Chartwell?
Skorczewski: Collaboration. Learning technical skills or strategies on projects that I am not active on is free learning. Further, I am passionate about developing the next generation of Chartwell’s leaders. I have always enjoyed that people at Chartwell are willing to spend time with each other to become the best consultants we can be.
Kowalski: The people. We have an incredible team of kind, hard-working, smart people that I am lucky to surround myself with every day. The increased use of Teams and Zoom calls allowed me to connect more deeply with certain colleagues in other offices than I had in the past and I feel a renewed sense of camaraderie amongst our team.
Dykes: The people! Interacting with my talented colleagues and clients and delivering actionable solutions is the best part of our work. While we replicated this process to some extent via Zoom, Teams, etc., it has been great to return to face-to-face communication.
Anderson: I appreciate our firm’s ability to adapt to change on the fly. The past year was undoubtedly filled with a myriad of challenges and uncertainty but our leadership and team confronted this environment head on and remained committed to our core values, allowing us to continually deliver great work for our clients.
We look forward to how the rest of 2021 unfolds and to connecting with you all in person soon!