What Working From Home Looks Like For Us

Woman sitting on rug and using laptop at home

The Learning Innovation team has been working remotely since March 13 to comply with the COVID-19 social distancing response, and – like many of you – we are not sure exactly when we will be able to return to the office and our normal routines. 

While there have been many articles and resources suggesting things to do while your family is sheltering-in-place, the reality is that we are all just doing our best to get by. So with that in mind, we thought we would share what some of our team members are actually doing to get through this (spoiler alert: no one is homeschooling their children for 8 hours a day in addition to working full-time).


“I haven’t done anything amazing to entertain or homeschool my child. I bought my daughter a Zoom license because she doesn’t have a phone (too young) so she can now have a daily hour of Minecraft with her friends. She says it’s the only thing that’s making this time okay for her. I have also been tuning into my friend’s Facebook live feed in which her son plays the guitar and sings a new song everyday. Otherwise, we spend time after work and on the weekend outside in the river.”  — Elise Mueller, Senior Consultant


“I’ve really enjoyed virtually visiting zoos and aquariums all over the world through their live cams. My current favorite is the Cheetah Cub Cam at the Smithsonian Zoo. A five-year-old Cheetah named Echo is a first-time mom to four adorable cubs! These cubs are just a few weeks old. Pretty soon, they’ll be mobile and mischievous. This has been so heartwarming to watch!” — Megan Lancaster, Learning Experience Designer


“I found buying a home during the pandemic has led to good work life balance. Now I always have something to fix.” — Marty Soupcoff, Learning Management System (LMS) Service Lead


“At first, I really enjoyed video chatting with friends from all over the country who I had not talked to in a long time. But after a few weeks our communications devolved into primarily sharing Tiger King memes, so we needed something to actually do together. I’ve started hosting Jackbox Games nights and they have been so much fun! I used to host a lot of board game nights at my house so it’s nice to be playing games with my friends again.” — Blythe Tyrone, Communications Strategist


“My thirteen-year-old daughter loves to do bullet journaling. I have encouraged her to spend more time doing that while we’ve been home. I purchased a few blank journals so that she could make bullet journals for her friends. Thinking about giving the journals to her friends when she sees them again helps with anxiety and gives her something specific to look forward to.” — Jolie Tingen, Product Manager


“My wife and I scheduled a weekly cocktail hour over video chat with our friends, I’m playing video games with our kids, and we’re going on hikes as a family. Without the need to drive to school and work, we turned off our electronic alarms and wake up naturally in the morning (which, if you have younger children, is still probably earlier than you’d like). I have kept our normal routine of hugs/kisses each morning to wish daddy a good day at work though.” — Michael Greene, Associate Director, Learning Technology Services and Strategy


“My partner created this sheet (below) to try to organize the kids’ (one in preschool, one in first grade) daily plan with the possibility of earning shows later in the day.  It’s an attempt to create some kind of structure for them and is usually motivating.” — Grey Reavis, Research and Development Program Coordinator


“In the past month I’ve taught my 4-year-old son to ride a bike and we head to East Campus after breakfast most mornings for him to ride, and for me to try to keep up on foot, sometimes with my 11-month-old daughter strapped to my chest. At home, my son and I also take turns drawing with an iPad app called ProCreate. It’s a graphic version of Exquisite Corpse that we both love.” — Matthew Rascoff, Associate Vice Provost for Digital Education and Innovation


“My running group has been offering a variety of virtual events to help local runners stay active and stay connected. When our last Winter Series race was cancelled (a challenging event held in Duke Forest appropriately called Hard Climb Hill), we challenged runners to instead find their own hill to climb and share their results. It was such a fun event, and we all enjoyed hearing about the various hills people found in the Triangle to run, so we decided to find more ways to run together without physically being together. This weekend, I’ll be running the Persistence Social Distance marathon, a 6-hour event where runners log 4.367 miles every hour for six hours.  Between laps, runners can connect with each other over Zoom and share how their race is going.” — Kimberly Manturuk, Associate Director of Research, Evaluation and Development


“Our twins are now 11 months old. The only upside to the pandemic for us is that I’ve been able to see them so much more each day. I no longer just see them in the morning and then at night when they’re finishing dinner and going to bed — I’ve been able to be home for some of the fun milestones: standing up on their own; trying to walk; endlessly trying to shape new words; feeding themselves and becoming little food critics. To stay sane, we try to take a family walk once a day and have been visiting either a local restaurant or farm for curbside pickups at least once a week just to get out of the house/neighborhood.” — Shawn Miller, Director 


We are also all taking much needed mental health days occasionally because, though it may not always feel like it, we are experiencing a national emergency and none of this is normal. We encourage you to do the same when possible, and go easy on yourself in all areas of your life. We cannot all emerge from this crisis as master bread bakers