ECDS adjusts to COVID-19

group photo

ECDS Happy Hour! Top row (L to R): Sadie Warren (graduate fellow), Wayne Morse, Adam Newman; 2nd row: Jay Varner, Sara Palmer, Marcy Alexander (project coordinator contractor); 3rd row: Steve Bransford, Arya Basu (and his son Aaron), Megan Slemons; 4th row: Joanna Mundy

Everyone is dealing with a tremendous amount of change in their work life as well as in their personal lives and we hope everyone is successfully making their way through these crazy times. In ECDS, we have had to make some adjustments, even though a good portion of our work can be done remotely and several of our team had regularly scheduled work from home days even before the Coronavirus.

We did not fully appreciate the impact of the entire team working remotely with only email and scheduled Zoom conferences acting as our connecting points. Although we had regularly scheduled bi-weekly team meetings on the calendar, the stress of not physically being together to work on projects, interact with one another, and just talk about things was very quickly felt by our entire team.

For those of you who have seen our center, the physical layout is purposely made so that there are limited physical separations between everyone’s workspace. This was done to help with bringing a diverse group of people together on all things related to digital scholarship. Constantly working remotely made these connections between people difficult, focusing any time we had together on a growing list of project and organization-related tasks.

At the recommendation of several members of our team, we have made one major change to our work plan and added a second event to our now “normal” weekly work schedule. We have changed our team meetings to weekly now in the hope that it would increase (virtual) face-to-face conversation among our group. As part of these meetings, we have reserved more time for discussions to allow for conversations to meander a bit, like they often do during in-person meetings.

Perhaps the biggest change we have made, again at the recommendation of our team, is inviting everyone to a virtual happy hour every Thursday afternoon. There’s no particular agenda for our meetings on Thursdays except to be together in an informal way and talk about a variety of topics. The topics in this meeting have included your favorite candy when you were a kid, the best recipes for Instant Pots, and which reality television show to watch. So far it’s primarily been a “happy hour” of conversation, but that may change as we continue.

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