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Businesses Find Pandemic Practices Worth Keeping

Karen Richards

Oregon businesses scrambled to set up remote workplaces in March, to comply with coronavirus health and safety concerns. After weeks of the new normal, people are finding some changes that will endure.

Celeste Marshall is Director of Operations at IDX in Eugene. Because the real estate software company is tech savvy, they needed only slight tweaks to get everyone set up at home. Marshall says waiting for a conference room is one thing she doesn’t miss.

Credit Karen Richards
Celeste Marshall

“We’ve had shorter more efficient meetings," she says, "because you jump on Zoom, or jump on Slack really fast, get what you need, I don’t even have to get up from my desk, and then we move on.” 


Marshall says these quick check-ins will probably continue. IDX has always allowed flexible schedules, but the pandemic has proven people can be laser-focused from home, so, she says, they’ll likely loosen the standards even more. “If you can get your work done, and you can also be an amazing human in the rest of your life, we want to do that, we want to support you in that.”


Health practitioners had to do more than tweak some software to move out of their offices.


Marc Zola is Founding Director of Eugene Therapy and Oregon Counseling. He says there was a learning curve with video appointments. Paying attention to eye contact, for example, is key. And while some clients were unsure about tele-health at first, now, he says, most are receptive. “I think this has probably changed the landscape going forward," says Zola. "As clinicians I don’t think this is something we want to do 100 percent of the time, but this does work really quite well, I think better than expected, and I anticipate that we’ll retain some portion of this.”


Credit EugeneTherapy.com
Marc Zola

Zola says it’s tough to replace the safe space of an office, but they are able to connect deeply using technology. 


Asked if there are new personal habits they’ll hold onto, Celeste Marshall sites video calls. “My parents live out of the country," she says. "We, as a family for the first time ever, we’ve all done weekly Zoom calls. I totally think we’ll keep it moving forward.”


Marc Zola’s response is more internal. He says, “I find myself being mindful about, huh, what is my routine? What are the things that are important to me? And for me a big part of this has been figuring out a way to keep being outside.”


Both IDX and Eugene Therapy plan to slowly phase into reopening, saying they want to be prudent and deliberate.


Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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