Coronavirus’ Impact on Jobs

Skyler Hoffner, Centurion Staff

Millions of Americans work like have been affected in some capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

People have been either laid off, forced to work from home, or even continue to work at their job because it is deemed essential during this pandemic, we are currently in. 

This COVID-19 virus has caused many people to learn how to do their jobs from home and their job could be easier or harder. 

Eric French a 22-year-old Senior at Drexel university was forced to finish his final term of college online.   

Additionally, his graduation has been canceled, and postponement is only a possibility at this point. Though he completely understandthe necessity of the measures being taken by Drexelhe is still very disappointed. T 

French also said as an Applications Engineer, he must work from home now. The move has been reasonable so far, but it has been a bumpy process along the way 

Moving an entire office staff at a manufacturer to remote work presents many challenges and skill gaps. Communication is a bit strained, but they have been using Zoom and adjusting well overall. 

The experience has certainly shown French the importance of being present for his field of work, and the irreplaceability of face to face communication. 

Bryan Reheil a 24-year-old Packaging Specialist also had to make the switch to working from home as well. Even though he is working from home now it does not mean he gets to work less. Reheil still must work his normally scheduled 10-hour workdays with a day off on Friday’s. The only difference is that on Friday he does not have to turn on his work computer.  

Reheil said he does not mind working from home that much thoughhe finds it more relaxing and easier to focus when he is sitting at his computer desk and getting done all the work as it comes in.  

This differs from his usual time in the office where he may be interrupted any number of times throughout his day for various side projects. It is not that he hates that aspect of his job, it is just easier in his opinion to accomplish his list of tasks in a timelier manner from home.  

He also notes that he is limited in several materials that he would need to have access to in the office, such as various files. So, his job can get sometimes hectic and stressful at times. 

There are also several positive things that have come out of him teleworking from home. For one he says he has been saving a lot of money on gas each week. He pointed out that it usually takes him a half-hour to work and back and being able to work from home lets him save gas money. Reheil also noted that he now gets to sleep an hour later and boot his computer right up in the morning and get to work.  

Reheil also went onto say when there are lulls in his workload, he does any number of other tasks he’s been needing to get to. This includes work classes, Reheil is in a graduate program to help bump himself up the ranks at his current job. He also notes that he gets to help assist his family around the house more as well while being at home all the time now. 

He does say that he misses several things such as the freedom to really get up and stretch his legs after a couple of hours behind his work desk at his job. Now he is confined to his house and has to wait until the very end of his 10-hour workday to exercise.  

Victoria Brewer a 23-year-old Account Coordinator at a small public relations firm in NYC called Ink & Roses is also adjusting to her new work life. 

Brewer started out by saying that her firm only has a total of eight internal employees. She workprimarily on the firm’s health accounts Johnson & Johnson and CareCredit but noted that there is also a team devoted to beauty accounts.  

Some of Brewers daily tasks include creating social media content, monitoring the media for placements or pitch angles, researching new businesses, and supporting upper management on any special projects. 

Brewer then notes that she commuted by train into NYC from New Jersey up until Thursday, March 12 This was the day the Coronavirus was declared to be a pandemic.  

She said that the trains were slightly less crowded but not by much. People still crowded together in Penn Station and pushed to get on trains. It was like nothing had really changed. 

Brewer would follow the news very closely at this time, which really began to concern her. It was frustrating she said to be working under someone who was only concerned about themselves and telling their employees that they will not have the opportunity to work from home because they are not paying people to sit at their houses. 

Her boss had no choice though but to let her workers work from home after the firm was deemed not essential to stay open in New York City.  

Brewer goes onto explain how working from home is different than working at her office in New York City. She said since her company is small, working from home has not been too stressful of a transition.  

Since her firm is small it is very easy to connect either online or by phone with her fellow coworkers. The biggest change they made to their internal team was conducting daily check-in calls which can be time-consuming and not always productive.  

She then said it is sometimes hard to focus somedays because she will notice laundry or dishes that need to be done. But notes that it has been nice to have other people in her apartment also working from home.  

Brewer than gets into the downside of working in public relations during this pandemic. She says right now many of our clients are, understandably, are not looking to pitch anything or produce content. 

It is a very difficult time right now because the world is only focused on one thing and it’s very important for companies to not come off as insensitive or as if they are insensitive to consumers. Because of that Brewers firm has been put in an awkward position where they are not able to give much to their clients and could ultimately lose their business.  

Recently Brewer was told that there would be no overtime pay during Teleworkingtwo weeks into teleworking. Holding an entry-level position during this time is beginning to be very stressful since she knows she could be one of the first ones to be let go. 

Ultimately after a month of teleworking, Brewer was laid off from her job because of financial reasons. 

Brandon Presser a 24-year-old Quality Engineer is another person working as an essential employeeHe says that his company is considered “life essential” because he makes pumps for multiple industries like agriculture, oil and gas, municipalities, water treatment, and medical but he noted that his company doesn’t make medical pumps at his facility. 

Presser said the people who can work entirely at home were given the choice to do so, though it is not mandatory.  

Anyone who is directly involved with getting orders out the door at any point was still required to work at the facility.  

This means all shipping/delivery, inspection/Quality (which is what Presser is), production, engineers and project facilitators are all still working at the location. He said that there are over 100 people still working at the facility. 

Presser said that the whole facility has received multiple emails from the CEO of the company saying that they need to keep the company’s core values in mind; customer satisfaction and promised delivery date no matter if you are still working at the facility or from home. 

He also notesomething very interesting to methose who are still going into the facility need to take their temperature at home before coming into work and sign off on a paper every day that you do not have a fever. He says that It is all trust-based, no one at the facility will check your temperature.  

Presser also mentions that he and his fellow coworkers try to obey the 6-foot rule but that is not entirely possible with the nature of his company.  

There are dozens of people working in an assembly line sitting shoulder to shoulder. There are dozens of people working together to haul/crank/build pumps. Parts are transferred and handled between tons of people. The situation could get worse at his facility if someone did come in with the Coronavirus. 

Ultimately the worst thing that could happen happened. One of Presser’s fellow Quality Engineers was diagnosed with the Coronavirus.  

Presser said that after this news came out on April 16, he was told that his whole Quality Control team was being sent home for a two-week quarantine just in case any of them were affected as well.  

Luckily, Presser has not had any symptoms of COVID-19 and is working from home smoothly with no problems. He is also coming to the end of his two-week quarantine. 

After hearing these stories, you call tell how this coronavirus pandemic is affecting their lives differently. We all hope our doctors can find a vaccine soon for the coronavirus so we can get back to normal life again soon.