In early 2020, when it became apparent that gathering in our normal office environments would risk the health and safety of our employees, we decided to transition into a fully remote workspace. Working from home wasn’t an easy transition for everyone, but in true RV spirit, we accepted the challenge and found unique ways to adapt.
We asked a few teammates how they adjusted to their WFH environment, and though each faced different circumstances, they all discovered ways to turn their obstacles into opportunities.
Nathan Richardson, Executive Vice President | Relocating with the Kids
Can you give us a rundown of what made you want to move?
As a single dad, my six-year-old twins and I went away for a weekend to Florida from NYC when the lockdown happened. Schools pretty much shut down, and I was like, “No point in going back to live in a 900-square-foot space with two kids.”
I spoke to my manager, Courtney Jeffus, and she was supportive of me navigating a challenging moment for NYC, parents, and kids. As I saw the NYC Department of Education struggling to adapt, I used Zillow to identify cities with protections for LGBTQ+ families and where I knew of other gay parents. I quickly zeroed in on Miami.
The next search was for well-rated schools, and then the short-term apartment hunt was on — ideally furnished. Fortunately for me, many RV Brazil employees had to rent their apartments due to the travel restrictions, and I found a cool spot fully-furnished in a school zone. The whole thing hasn’t been cheap, but I am lucky to have a local support system and flexible kids who are happy to be in a new place.
Two more shout-outs! One shout-out to Kate O-Brien (Higher Education), who had her ear to the ground for me to find a temporary space. Also, a shout-out to Brian Kelly (TPG) who leaned into giving grace while having kids.
Any advice for telecommuting families?
Adding structure has been key for the kids and I. I have an easel-sized flip chart where I lay out each of the kids’ schedules with every 30-minute activity, including Zoom IDs for all the hours that I am working — giving each kid time apart, avoiding games and TV, and making sure they get exercise. Per Courtney’s suggestion, we now do a HIIT workout for 10 minutes as a family before school each morning.
How do you feel about working from home?
It is way more productive, but maybe at the cost of losing some of the personal connections that smooth edges and foster the creativity that comes from being together. I could see WFH working really well over time if we also had regular in-person bursts.
Betsy Eccles, Recruiter | Exploring West Coast Wonders
Can you tell us more about your journey?
When we found out we were going remote until at least the end of the year (earlier in the summer), I decided to venture out. I live alone, with no pets or anything, so it was an easy decision to make. Airbnb had 30+ Day listings, so I just started to scroll across the US to compare costs, location, etc.
I ended up in an Airstream parked out in the hills of LA (close to Dodgers Stadium — go Dodgers)! I booked it for October and had the absolute best time. I did run into a few heatwaves (it was 101℉ the day I landed), so it was a little toasty at times, but I wouldn’t trade the views and experience for the world.
I was able to take time off towards the end of my stay. I took a road trip up to Napa and stopped at many amazing places along the way. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience to explore and see so much of the West Coast. I’m already dying to go back.
What made you want to venture out?
Working solo in an apartment isn’t the most thrilling. I love to travel in general, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to make a challenging year a bit more enjoyable for myself. It was different, and it pushed me to experience being far away “from home” while not knowing anyone in the area. I had some concerns that if I were to contract COVID while I was there, it could be challenging. As a precaution, I packed medication and researched where the closest testing site was. If you know me, you know I’m a planner and like to work through all scenarios, just in case!
Did you notice anything unique?
It was incredible working East Coast hours because I was able to see the sunrise over LA every day, which is something I normally miss.
How do you feel about working from home?
I’ve grown to like it. Initially, I was not a fan. I missed my friends and coworkers in the office. I missed being around people and the small conversations you had waiting in line at the cafe or walking around campus.
But I’ve spiced up my space and also booked another month-long excursion in February to Orlando. I’ll drive this time, and I have an annual pass to Walt Disney World. This Airbnb is about nine minutes from the park, so I’m very much looking forward to after-work drinks in Epcot most days — although my wallet is not!
Reggie Wimbley, Analyst | Reconnecting with Family
When, where, and why did you decide to travel?
About a month into WFH, I returned home to Cleveland, and I also recently ended my lease in Charlotte for the time being. I was talking to myself a little too much and needed human interaction. I lived alone in Charlotte, and a one-bedroom apartment is not ideal for spending nearly 24 hours a day inside.
What makes your WFH set-up stand out?
It was nice to be home with my parents during this difficult year. I work at the dining room table since my mom, who is also working from home, has the office.
How do you feel about working from home?
Working remotely has grown on me, but I still miss the days of being in the office and the interactions that came with it (also the cafe lunch). WFH offered me the flexibility that I would not have had otherwise. I was home for both of my parents’ birthdays and saw more family than I had in years. Additionally, at the beginning of next year, I plan to travel and work in different cities, so I am excited about that.
Clay Farell, Digital Designer | Finding Creativity through Travel
When and to where have you traveled?
Since we transitioned to WFH, I’ve traveled to Pittsburgh to visit my girlfriend’s family, Connecticut, to see my family and Maine on vacation! Aside from the obvious reasons for visiting relatives and friends, I’ve traveled mostly for a change of pace and scenery. It can be mentally exhausting to work in the same place every day, and without a commute, I found myself not leaving my apartment much at all.
Working in a new environment helped me mentally reset and helped me creatively by sparking new ideas. Overall it’s left me feeling refreshed and re-energized about my daily tasks.
How do you feel about working from home, and what makes your set-up unique?
The main thing that sets my workstation apart from the rest is that it’s within arm’s reach of the fridge. Watch out for that quarantine 15!
At the beginning of WFH, I definitely found it hard to concentrate, and communication was difficult, but as time went on, I’ve gotten used to it. My team is awesome, and I feel like we adapted to this new normal quickly. I appreciate the flexibility that WFH gives us (I’ve spent more time with my family than I would if we were still in the office).
Ben Grant, Senior Associate | Working on Wheels
When and where did you decide to travel?
I officially hit the road on Sunday, August 16th. I started my travels with a three-week road trip from Charlotte, NC to Seattle, WA.
I hit Knoxville, Williamsburg, Indianapolis, Chicago, Iowa City, Omaha, North Platte, Denver, Boulder, Steamboat Springs, Rock Springs, Jackson Hole, Bozeman, Missoula, and Spokane along the way.
I reached Seattle over Labor Day weekend and stayed through October 30th. Then I road-tripped down to Los Angeles, stopping in Portland and San Francisco along the way, then stayed in LA until Christmas.
Why did you decide to travel?
To be completely honest, I panicked hardcore around May/June. I spent the first three months of WFH between Charlotte and my parents’ house in Raleigh. While time with family was priceless, it was one of my lowest points, both personally and professionally.
I missed the culture and energy of the office. I was unsure whether I could have the same impact with my team when so much of my value comes via in-person relationships and communication (and I didn’t). I felt disconnected. What seemed like a secure and confident life on the surface quickly became quite uncertain without the identity formed through routine and work.
Upon reflection, the things I needed most were balance and direction. But at the time, I just knew I needed to do something. Relocating, and more specifically having a plan, gave me both of those things.
What makes your work from home set-up unique?
Honestly, nothing. It’s just my laptop, charger, and mouse.
Many people assumed I’m some kind of nomad working out of the back of my car in the woods. As romantic as that sounds, it’s far from the truth. I need a quality workspace, so I’ve been incredibly intentional about staying in Airbnbs, hotels, and with friends who have appropriate workspaces. I’ve actually lost friends over their Wi-Fi connection. Honestly, if you don’t have at least an 100MB internet speed, I’m better off without you.
You can’t travel for four months without a few fire drills and unusual circumstances. I’ve become an expert at finding the one LTE zone for miles to take calls in the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone, and driving down the California coast. The most memorable experience was taking a call to discuss my team move and new role while in Coos Bay, Oregon.
More than anything else, I could absolutely not be doing what I’m doing without the grace and understanding of my team — managers, direct reports, and peers. They’re all incredibly supportive of the occasional poor internet connection, call-ins instead of video chats, and time zone differences. They’ve enabled one of the best four months of my life.
In general, how do you feel about working from home?
I have made the most of it, but I still far prefer an in-person work environment. If you told me tomorrow that I could roll into the Charlotte campus and reunite with all my RV colleagues, I would be there eating a $2 cafe side salad in a heartbeat. However, I’m excited about the RV hybrid approach, and I’m interested to see how things shake out in 2021. I could see myself being the type of person to work mostly in the office but value the flexibility of WFH for specific circumstances (e.g., visits home to see family, extended trips over the summer).
No matter how or where we work, one thing always rings true: RVers take challenges in stride. We stay flexible and adaptable, and we support our teammates along the way, because that’s what it means to be a great person to work with.
To discover more ways we’ve adapted to our remote realities, check out how we’ve reimagined our employee wellness offerings to offer virtual support around the world.