As many of us have settled into our new routines of working from home, it’s important to take note of how we got here. Change is difficult and transitions can be tricky to navigate with colleagues, supervisors, and our families. We’re taking this moment to reflect on the people who have made this new routine productive and accessible.

Chad Howard works for Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and in pre-COVID-19 times, commuted from Redmond to the offices located in Bend. Since March, Chad has been working from home alongside his wife and their two children, ages 4 and 1. While speaking with Chad, I learned that although the transition took some time, the flexibility provided by his team made it possible for him to keep up productivity.

There was joy in Chad’s voice as he spoke about spending time at home with his family. His days are filled with simple moments when everyone is quiet and in their own space, to the sounds of laughter and rearranging schedules because the kids need his attention. Being a parent while teleworking is a new way of life for many and Chad is a role-model on doing it well. Communication with his supervisor has been key as he pointed to the ability to flex time when needed. Chad spoke of the pride he has in always putting his best work forward and how inspired he has been by the commitment from his team to adjust to the needs of the transportation industry.

When asked what he misses from going into the office, Chad was quick to answer, putting on professional clothes. He gifted himself with a dress up day at home to boost his morale! His dad had a good laugh when he walked in and saw him working from home in a full button up outfit. It’s the little routines that can change our moods and help us get through these difficult times.

Looking forward, Chad hopes to find a balance between working from home, surrounded by the love of his family and heading into the office on days filled with meetings and peer interactions. Cutting back on time driving to and from work is a privilege I hope can be integrated into our communities. Dedicating our time to the people closest to us while also doing the work we are passionate about is a life Chad is modeling for ODOT and everyone working from home. I invite us all to take a look at how our commutes and work/life balance can better fulfill us.