The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of many Parksville Qualicum Beach residents. Some people have been laid off and others have had to adjust by working from home.
Here’s what a handful of locals have to say about working from home:
Ed Mayne, Mayor of Parksville:
“I am working part-time at home and part-time at the office. The biggest challenge is getting all the technology to work from both spots but other than that it has not been a large issue. The huge number of emails are the hardest part to get to especially when going back and forth, I would expect this will become second nature as we go further. The residents, the staff and the council have all done an amazing job in attempting to flatten the curve and so far I believe it is working. The biggest regret is not being able to get to everyone immediately it sometimes takes a day or two to get back. I would say that if these are our largest problems we sure have it a lot better than a lot of other areas across Canada.”
Luke Sales, director of planning for Qualicum Beach:
“I transitioned last week from working in the office to working at home. It’s nice from the perspective that I’m not frequently interrupted in my work, which is helpful for big projects that require extended concentration. On the negative side, working together over the phone is quite different and it will take some getting used to. I miss the conversations and brief encounters that sometimes stimulate new ideas.”
Bonnie Brown, Mt. Arrowsmith Salvation Army business manager:
“I am quite tech-savvy, so I have found the transition easy. I am still able to access emails, answer phones – I even have my work phone forwarded to my cell. So, functionally it is no different. I miss my team and I feel bad about not being on the ground with the staff and volunteers who continue to run our essential services. I try to support local businesses as much as possible and while I am still working, still earning a living, I try to keep spending money as I usually would. I am trying really to focus on my team, my loved ones and what I can control and not let my thoughts turn to worry and anxiety about the future. I know we will get through this, however hard and however long it takes.”
Michelle Stilwell, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum:
“The biggest lesson for me has been to be flexible. Figuring out how to balance this new normal is a big adjustment. My son is home from university and my husband is also working from home, so sharing space has been an interesting bonding experience to say the least. I find that some daily routines around exercise, making and eating meals together and limiting screen time has been helpful. That being said, I want to say how grateful I am to be able to work and continue my role representing this amazing community. Not being around people has been hard. That is my job. I am out meeting and interacting with the community, colleagues and staff all the time and that is the best part of my day. I work for the public, so being away from the public is a big change. Though I am grateful to be isolating with my family, I can’t wait to go hug someone.But what’s come easy? Being focused on my job representing the people of Parksville-Qualicum has never changed, so the passion has come easy.”
Parksville company AuxBox, which makes modular offices and studios, said they’ve seen their business change significantly as more requests have started to come in for home offices.
Co-owner Morgan Seeber lives on the Sunshine Coast and does a lot of work from there and business partner Landon Sheck handles day-to-day things at their Parksville site.
“We didn’t see the coronavirus coming, but we did see a trend a long time ago with just people working from home,” he said.
Seeber said he’s seen a lot of people on the Sunshine Coast change their habits already when it comes to commuting.
“They’d commute for a little bit and realize this is such a waste of my day, the commute, and I can get more accomplished in less time if I just stay at home and don’t waste money on a vehicle and gas and ferry,” he said. “So, that was kind of the first thing.”
He said he’s been hearing from people who are now seeing the value of staying at home, and who think it might be something they continue to do even after social distancing becomes less necessary.